U.S. President Donald Trump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, June 30, 2017 (Evan Vucci / AP)

Top trade leaders, including Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA) released a statement Tuesday urging Trump to reconsider ending the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Key excerpts:

  • "North Korea's latest nuclear test underscores yet again the vital importance of the strong alliance between the United States and South Korea."
  • "The U.S.-South Korea agreement (KORUS), negotiated under two presidents and approved by Congress, is a central element of that alliance. Just as important, South Korea is a significant economic partner."
  • "Our trade relationship can be enhanced and... we must press South Korea to improve its implementation and compliance."
  • "To be effective and constructive, however, we must not withdraw from the agreement while we do so."

Why it matters: Top bipartisan leaders recognize the potential danger that could arise by ending the trade deal: damaging relations with a key ally in Asia while the North Korean threat is escalating to unprecedented proportions.

Full statement: "North Korea's latest nuclear test underscores yet again the vital importance of the strong alliance between the United States and South Korea. The U.S.-South Korea agreement (KORUS), negotiated under two presidents and approved by Congress, is a central element of that alliance. Just as important, South Korea is a significant economic partner, our seventh largest export market, and a vital customer for U.S. manufacturers, services providers, farmers, and ranchers."Our trade relationship can be enhanced and, because KORUS's operation has presented frustrations for some important U.S. industries and stakeholders, we must press South Korea to improve its implementation and compliance. To be effective and constructive, however, we must not withdraw from the agreement while we do so. We welcome bilateral discussions to strengthen the economic ties between South Korea and the United States, and we reiterate the importance of transparency and close consultation by the administration with Congress and American businesses and workers."

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