Unpacking Seoul’s Unhappiness with Trump

By Ramon Pacheco Pardo

It has become clear in recent months that Seoul and Washington have several important disagreements shaking the foundations of their alliance. Problems include US demands that inter-Korean cooperation does not move ahead as long as North Korea does not take steps towards denuclearisation; Washington’s demands of a five-fold increase in SMA payments by Seoul; the Trump government’s reaction to the Japan-South Korea trade dispute, especially Seoul’s announcement to let GSOMIA expire; and the US raising “competition-related concerns” against the South Korean government after KORUS was revised. Put together, these issues are shaking the foundations of the South Korea-US alliance. They have led to deep-seated unhappiness with the Donald Trump government in Seoul.

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