H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, called on Sunday Kim Kwan-jin, his counterpart in South Korea. The call was to assure Seoul that it would be Washington that would pay for the $1 billion cost of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system.

While the U.S. is renegotiating the terms of the THAAD, Washington would follow the existing agreement that committed the U.S. would shoulder the cost of the system. McMaster had to assure Kim Kwan-Jin because U.S. President Donald Trump stated in a phone call that it would be Seoul that would shoulder the $1-billion cost, reneging on a previous deployment agreement that Washington would pay for the cost of the THAAD system since South Korea is hosting the system and providing the land.

THAAD angers China

Agreeing to host the THAAD anti-missile system has angered China which imposed sanctions against South Korea by banning Korean entertainers and content of Korean TV shows and movies – more known as Hallyu – from China. Beijing also prohibited Chinese travel agencies from organizing tours to South Korea.

McMaster said that Trump had asked him to look across all of the alliances of the U.S. and to push for proper sharing of burden and responsibility. Washington is looking at that with South Korea and NATO. In renegotiating the THAAD deal, the security advisor said that Washington would take into account the president’s statement that he would prioritize safety and interest of American citizens, Korean Herald reported.

Strong allies needed

To do that, McMaster said the U.S would need strong allies like Seoul. He explained that the 35-minute phone call by the U.S. president was made in a general context that the American people are hoping that defense costs would be shared with U.S. allies in mind.

Trump’s call for South Korea rattled Seoul because the U.S.

ally had already suffered sanctions from China over the THAAD system hosting. As a result, many South Koreans are angry and bewildered at Trump’s suggestion for cost-sharing. They instead pushed for not pushing through with the THAAD system hosting and deployment.

According to Reuters, major elements of the THAAD system have been moved into Seonjgu, the planned location of the system, found in the country’s southern part.

As a result of Trump’s statement, about 300 South Koreans held a rally on Sunday when two American army trucks attempted to enter the THAAD site. The blocked the road with vehicles and shouted anti-U.S. slogans. There was a clash between police and protesters that injured two residents.