NATIONAL

Trump denies aide removed Korea trade deal letter

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 8, 2018 - 10:53
  • Updated : Sept 8, 2018 - 11:08
US President Donald Trump denied Friday that a former aide removed a letter from his desk to stop him from terminating a US trade deal with South Korea.

    The Washington Post, citing a forthcoming book by one of its journalists, Bob Woodward, reported earlier this week that a former top economic adviser to Trump "stole a letter" off the president's desk.

    The letter was intended to withdraw the US from its free trade agreement with South Korea, the book was quoted as saying.

    Trump has vehemently denied the bombshell allegations contained in the book, which paint an administration alarmed by the president's poorly informed and impulsive decisions.

 
US president Donald Trump boards on Air Force One (AFP-Yonhap)

    "He never took a memo off my desk," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to a pool report. "Gary Cohn, if he ever took a memo off my desk, I would have fired him in two seconds. He would have been fired so fast. He would have been fired within the first second that it took place."

    Cohn resigned earlier this year after failing to stop tariffs on imported aluminum and steel.

    In the book, he is quoted as telling an associate that he took the letter to protect national security and that Trump did not notice it was missing.

    "I completed the deal after Gary Cohn left," Trump said,

 referring to its renegotiation earlier this year. "It was a horrible deal. I terminated the deal. I made a new deal. It's a great deal. Now it's a great deal. I did that not because of Gary Cohn, I did that because of me."

    He added that the revised agreement will probably be signed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month, where the White House has said he plans to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap)