President Trump had a great idea last week, suggesting that the US would be much happier with having deployed its missile defense system to South Korea if the South Korean government paid for it. That’s not going to happen, of course, as National Security Adviser HR McMaster admitted today.
McMaster conceded that the current agreement on the deployment affirms that the US will pay for the system’s deployment and operation, and said that “until any renegotiation” the US would “adhere to our word” and pay for the THAAD system.
McMaster tried to downplay Trump’s sudden suggestion that the system was “most incredible” and that South Korea should pay for it, saying that Trump just meant a general statement on “responsibility sharing” and not any specific attempt to try to force South Korea to pay, despite that clearly being the context.
President Trump has repeatedly presented the US military as able to do a lot more internationally if they could just get someone else to pay for it. Yet it seems that the notion of South Korea paying for THAAD came well after the agreement to deploy it was made, and clearly South Korea has no intention of just volunteering that after the fact.