South Korea said the Trump administration reconfirmed its commitment to foot the bill, contradicting what the president said days earlier.
South Korea said on Sunday the U.S. would cover the cost of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ant-missile system, a contradiction of what President Donald Trump said just a few days earlier. The president did not respond, but it seems he may have misspoke, or, as South Korea was told by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, that Trump was speaking “in a general context.”
South Korea said McMaster requested to speak with his counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, in order to clear up the confusion Trump created when he told Reuters in an interview that South Korea should pay for the $1 billion defense system. The statement ran counter to a previous agreement, according to South Korea, in which the allies decided the U.S. would cover the cost for the system, its operation, and maintenance. In return, Seoul would provide the land and support infrastructure. In the call Sunday, South Korea said McMaster “reconfirmed what has already been agreed.” Trump’s earlier comments, the statement said, were made in the context that the U.S. expects allies to share the burden of defense costs. But apparently not in this case.