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United States To Withdraw Free Trade Deal With South Korea

03 September 2017

The South Korean leader said his country would never tolerate an advancing technology of the North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, ordering the military to maintain a full defence readiness against further provocation.

"The two leaders agreed to strengthen our alliance through defense cooperation and to strengthen South Korea's defense capabilities", according to the statement.

US President Donald Trump agreed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to revise a joint treaty capping the development of the South's ballistic missiles, Moon's office said on Saturday, amid a standoff over North Korea's missile and nuclear tests.

"Mr. Trump is not a model of consistency, so I wouldn't read too much" into what he tweeted and what he reportedly agreed upon with Moon, said Sue Mi Terry, formerly a Central Intelligence Agency analyst and National Security Council director for Korea and Japan.

South Korea previously asked the US to review the missile guidelines in a bid to double its firepower following rising threats from the North, which flew a ballistic missile over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Tuesday in its latest illegal test.

Friday night, the White House released a readout of the phone call between the two leaders, saying Trump provided a conceptual approval of the sale of billions of dollars' worth of American military equipment to South Korea. "He will never tolerate North Korea's advancement in its nuclear capabilities and will deploy US assets".

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The 1979 guideline was last amended five years ago to extend the allowed range of South Korean ballistic missiles to nearly 500 miles and increase their payload to 1,100 pounds.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest point in years after a series of missile tests by Pyongyang.

North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile - reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear payload - that traveled almost 2,700 kilometers into the Pacific and triggered alert warnings as it flew over northern Japan.

The South, which hosts 28,500 United States troops to defend it, is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with Washington, which instead offers a "nuclear umbrella" against potential attacks.

However, Trump said after the latest missile test that negotiations with Pyongyang were "not the answer".

United States To Withdraw Free Trade Deal With South Korea