Seoul, May 1 (IANS) South Korea on Monday ruled out renegotiation of the cost for the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) missile system, responding to pressure from Washington to share the financial burden.
“Our view is that it can’t be an issue for renegotiation,” said Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence.
He stressed that a bilateral agreement on the matter was already in place and there was a relevant stipulation in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Yonhap News Agency reported.
The SOFA calls for US Forces Korea (USFK) to pay for the operation of its own weapons in the country while the onus is on South Korea to supply facilities and areas.
The ministry’s firm stance on the Thaad cost issue came after US National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster on Sunday said that his government respects the existing agreement but only until “any renegotiation”.
Last week, US President Donald Trump said he wanted Seoul to pay for it.
The USFK has installed key components of the system at a former golf course in Seongju in North Gyeongsang province.
The two countries believe the positioning of Thaad on the peninsula is a must to help thwart North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions.
South Korea has already offered land for the site, with the US required to fund the installation and maintenance.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.