US President Donald Trump speaks at Local 18 Richfield Training Facility on Thursday in Richfield, Ohio. (Photo: AP)
US President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to hold up the trade agreement his administration finalized this week with South Korea in an effort to gain more leverage in potential talks with North Korea.
Speaking on infrastructure in Ohio, Trump highlighted the recently completed renegotiation of the Korea-US free trade agreement. But he warned, "I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea." The remark comes as the two Koreas have announced plans to hold bilateral meetings next month in advance of a possible meeting between Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un by the end of May.
Trump noted the "rhetoric has calmed down" with North Korea, but added he may put a hold on the first trade agreement concluded by his administration, "because it's a very strong card and I want to make sure everyone is treated fairly."
Trump did not explain what leverage the US would achieve by holding up the trade deal with South Korea. The South Korean embassy in Washington declined to comment.