Seoul and Washington Start Talks on Trade amid Heightening Tensions


Officials from South Korea and the Trump administration had a meeting on Friday in Washington DC to start the formal re-negotiations of a free trade agreement which has been a bone of contention between these two allies. The meeting was conducted at a time when there have been rising tensions caused by the totalitarian regime in Pyongyang led by Kim Jong Un. The meeting had the two allies concentrating on their interests with America focusing on the trade of cars and the various barriers to exports that have been enacted by the South Korean government.

One of the negotiators on the side of the United States emphasized there was a lot of work to be done in negotiating a trade pact with Seoul that would benefit American business people and serve the interests of the US government. This statement was issued in a meeting by the representative of trade for the United States government. The former trade agreement between the Washington and Seoul has received criticism from the US president trump who has said that it was a horrible deal for the American people and interests.

Trump has pledged that his administration will commit to efforts of having it reworked. Negotiators from the United States hope to open the South Korean market for American made automobiles and to have the irritants in the bilateral trade relationship smoothened. However, foreign policy experts have said that clashing of the terms of trade between the two allies would create a divide at a critical time when tensions have rocked the Korean peninsula. It is also a dangerous time when the repressive North Korean regime has opened a communication line through the demilitarizes zone in one of the villages found in the 38th parallel which divides the Korean peninsula into South and North Korea.

The efforts by Pyongyang to reestablish contact with South Korea is in a bid to drive a wedge through the close ties between Seoul and Washington. This is also a delicate time when US president trump has been incessant that Kim must abandon his nuclear missile program if there are going to be any meaningful talks for a peace agreement and the withdrawal of the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations. One of the senior fellows at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Sue Mi Terry, admitted that it was a delicate time for the relationship between South Korea and the United States. Terry added that renegotiating the trade pact between the two allies would only serve to widen the gap that is already there between Washington and Seoul.

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