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N. Korea experts say now is not right time for FTA discussions Updated: 2017-09-05 20:02:09 KST


Just a day before North Korea held its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, news outlets reported on President Trump's plan to renegotiate, or even withdraw from, the free trade deal between Washington and Seoul.
After the nuclear test, experts on Korea expressed regret over the U.S. President's plan, calling it foolish and self-destructive.
During an interview with Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency, Robert Manning, a senior fellow from the Atlantic Council, criticized Trump for raising the possibility of withdrawing from the KORUS FTA, calling it foolish and the worst plan in this situation.
Alan Romberg, the director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center, also said that Washington's plan to withdraw from the free trade deal is an irrational, self-defeating act, especially at a time when it is obvious that strong solidarity between allies is crucial in the face of North Korean provocations.
He added that the U.S. President needs to give South Korea the political space to make possible alterations to the deal in a framework of collaboration, and not confrontation.
Ken Gause, the director of the international affairs group at the Center for Naval Analyses, said that it would be difficult for Seoul to confront its biggest threat coming from North Korea, when its closest ally imposes such economic pressure on the country.
The Korea Economic Institute also said that if Washington withdraws from the FTA, it will harm both nation's economic and security benefits as well as weaken the influence of the Seoul-Washington alliance in East Asia.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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