Anchor: Donald Trump, former president of the United States, has drawn condemnation from rivals as well as within his own party for a controversial statement he made regarding NATO allies. Trump stated at a campaign event on Saturday that the U.S. would not be willing to defend any NATO ally that failed to designate enough of its budget for defense.
Emma Sparkes has more.
Report: Former U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that he would not defend NATO allies who fail to spend enough on defense and would even go as far as to encourage Russia to attack them.
Trump, who is running for reelection, made the controversial remarks on NATO during a campaign speech on Saturday in South Carolina, recalling a conversation he'd had when he was in office.
[Sound bite: Former US President Donald Trump]
"They asked me that question, one of the presidents of a big country, he stood up, said 'Well, sir, if we don't pay and we're attacked by Russia, will you protect us?'. I said 'You didn't pay? You're delinquent?'. He said 'Yes'. Let's say that happened. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay, you got to pay your bills."
These words have been met with widespread concern. The White House as well as NATO and a number of European countries strongly criticized Trump’s remarks, which apparently denied NATO’s collective security agreement and could encourage Russia to use force.
President Joe Biden slammed Trump’s comments as "appalling and dangerous," and disagreement even came from within the Republican party itself with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley stating that Trump’s remarks put allies at risk.
[Sound bite: Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley]
"NATO has been a success story for 75 years. We haven't had a war in that region because it's an alliance, an alliance that scares Russia. Russia has never invaded a NATO country. They invaded Georgia, they invaded Ukraine, they invaded Moldova, all non-NATO countries. They are scared of the alliance. He just put every military member at risk and every one of our allies at risk just by saying something at a rally like that. That's the danger."
For Seoul, Trump’s remarks raise concerns that if reelected, he may force South Korea to shoulder an enormous amount of the cost of maintaining the U.S. Forces Korea(USFK). These concerns do not come without precedent as the cost for 2020-2026 became a significant source of tension between the U.S. and South Korea when Trump was in office.
The next round of negotiations for the Special Measures Agreement, which lays out the specifics of the cost-sharing plans between the two countries, are expected to start this year.
Emma Sparkes, KBS World Radio News