Tensions continues to build in Northeast Asia amid North Korea's ongoing missile test provocations, South Korea's impeachment of its president and China's ongoing military buildup in the South China Sea.
While China has publicly opposed last week's Thaad deployment, Beijing has not directly said it was targeting South Korean firms in retaliation. The system is expected to go operational in one or two months.
China has taken a series of retaliatory measures against South Korea over its push to deploy an advanced US missile defense system on its soil, which Beijing insists could be used to spy on its military.
"Together with the announcement that the U.S. Special Naval Warfare Development Group (Seal Team Six) is involved in the exercises this year for the first time since the they started almost 40 years ago, one may be forgiven in assuming that one intended message for Kim Jong Un regime must be: Watch out". We already have such equipment in place.
The deployment of drones, which will be assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, is part of a broader plan to reinforce each Army division with one Gray Eagle company, US Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement. Malaysia was a favourite country for their operations because, until the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, North Koreans were allowed to travel visa-free. "It will make the North Koreans even more jumpy and have a way itchier trigger finger".
A war now is unlikely to be conventional or limited to the Korean Peninsula. South Korean data show nearly half of its visitors come from China.
It is against this backdrop that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing this week. "Do they mean that the Republic of Korea, as a sovereign state, has to always say "yes" to the requests of the USA simply because the U.S. is our ally?" said Lim Jong-seok, chief of staff for Moon's campaign, in rebuttal of this criticism.
Tillerson is taking on a looming problem that has defeated Washington's best diplomatic efforts for more than two decades. In the last two decades, South Korea has been playing a delicate balancing geopolitical game of relying on the US for security protection and on China for trade.
Yoo said a change in US monetary policy could directly affect household debt in South Korea, which the government will try to continue managing.
Pyongyang has tested new presidents before. "We didn't ask for a correction of the article, however, because this was consistent with the intent of his remarks, which emphasized a foreign policy focused on the national interest", Moon's camp said.
Lotte Group, the fifth largest conglomerate in South Korea, also stated last week that its Chinese website had experienced disruptions that could be a cyberattack by Chinese hackers.
The exercises, dubbed Foal Eagle, are seen by North Korea as a dress rehearsal for an invasion.
In February, Kim's half-brother was assassinated in Malaysia in a VX nerve agent attack and five of Kim's security officials were executed with anti-aircraft guns. "Their priorities are no war, no instability, no nukes, in a descending order meaning they seek peace and stability and then denuclearisation - and that has not fundamentally shifted".
The Trump administration is searching for new ideas to stop North Korea in ways that years of global sanctions and diplomatic isolation have failed to do.
"Of course it's related [to North Korea]".
Mary Beth Long, an assistant secretary of defence in the Bush administration, said the USA should consider carrying out air strikes to stop missile tests.
South Korea should learn to "say "No" to the Americans", Moon told the New York Times in an interview last week. "We can see if China is willing to change that, but we can't have U.S. policy held hostage to Chinese long-term and short-term decisions regarding North Korea".