MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Friday Trump told in an interview with the Washington Times that Seoul should pay for the $1-billion defense system, which will be stationed in South Korea in order to shield it from a possible missile attack by Pyongyang. The South Korean military in response reiterated that its position on the system's deployment remained unchanged, meaning that Washington has to pay.
McMaster had a 35-minute talk with his South Korean counterpart on Sunday at Washington's request, saying that Trump's statements "were made in a general context with American people's hopes for [defense] cost sharing by allies in mind," as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the agency, both sides have agreed that South Korea’s only contribution will be the land that it has provided for the THAAD deployment earlier.
Kim and McMaster also agreed to increase their pressure on North Korea in cooperation with China and the international community in the light of Pyongyang’s failed missile launch on Saturday, the agency reported.
On Friday, the South Korean Foreign Ministry’s representative said that Seoul has not received US demands to pay the costs of the THAAD despite Trump’s statements.
In July 2016, Seoul and Washington reached an agreement to deploy THAAD in South Korea amid growing tensions with North Korea. China and Russia have criticized the decision, calling it inappropriate, possibly disproportionate and likely to affect the interests of other nations.
The construction of the system had begun in South Korean Seongju County on Wednesday despite protests from the local residents.
The THAAD system has a range of some 200 kilometers (125 miles) and is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage.