March 16, 2018 13:07
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea to fix the U.S. trade deficit with the country, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
In a fundraising speech in Missouri on Wednesday, Trump said, "We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them."
"We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let's see what happens," he added.
The WaPo said Trump "seemed to threaten to pull U.S. troops stationed in South Korea if he didn't get what he wanted on trade with Seoul."
But diplomatic sources in Washington said that Trump's comments seem aimed at gaining leverage in talks on cost sharing for the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea. The actual number of U.S. soldiers stationed here is 28,000.
Trump mocked former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, saying, "They couldn't have met" with Kim Jong-un. "Nobody would have done what I did."
He also said, "What's going to get us in war is weakness."
The daily also said Trump "will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as soon as next week," and that "countries can request exemptions from these tariffs, but only after direct negotiations with him."
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