John Boehner criticizes Trump administration over North Korea trade policy

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In this Oct. 27, 2015, photo, outgoing House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House is ready to vote on a bipartisan pact charting a two-year budget truce, and Republicans are set to nominate Rep. Paul Ryan as the chamber’s new speaker. GOP leaders hope that both events Wednesday will help transform their party’s recent chaos into calm in time for next year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

By Jack Torry

Washington Bureau

Former House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Twp, sharply criticized the Trump administration for threatening to scrap a free-trade agreement with South Korea, saying such a move “would undermine America’s strategic objectives in the Pacific region and undercut our own workers and employers.”

Boehner, who was a strong supporter of the trade pact when Congress approved it in 2011, said in a statement Tuesday the United States “must strengthen – not weaken – its already vital economic relationships in the Pacific, from South Korea and Japan to Australia and China,” adding “we cannot isolate the regime in” North Korea “ by isolating ourselves.”

Critics complained that President Donald Trump rattled the U.S. alliance with South Korea by threatening to withdraw from the free-trade pact even as North Korea has violated international sanctions by testing nuclear devices and ballistic missiles.

“I have great confidence in the president’s national security team, and it is evident our commander-in-chief does as well,” Boehner said. “The president deserves credit not only for having put this skilled team in place, but also for having consistently listened to them and heeded their recommendations on matters such as these in the face of political pressures and isolationist impulses.”

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