A suspected North Korean drone crashed a few miles from the DMZ after being observed taking photos of THAAD installations. The South Korean military knew beforehand that Pyongyang is taking photos covertly of military installations for years. This is cause for concern as the tension in the Korean peninsula mounts over Pyongyang's incessant missile tests, nuclear weapons development and threats of precision strikes on Seoul and U.S. installations in the area.

Why did the North Korean drone crash?

According to South Korean military intelligence, the drone crashed near the demilitarized zone on June 9. The wreckage was discovered by the South Korean army on patrol in the said region.

Military intelligence retrieved from the drone's data storage show at least ten detailed images of U.S. THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) systems that are installed in Seongju golf course near Seoul.

The THAAD is not yet fully operational at the moment as key communication systems are not yet fully installed however, it is expected to be fully operation later this year. This anti-missile system is expected to provide a protective umbrella over the entire Korean peninsula and Japan from incoming missile strikes from the North.

How will this affect U.S. deployment in the Korean peninsula?

The North Korean state-run central TV network aired images of THAAD installation batteries in May. This is a major problem for U.S. strategy in the area, especially near the DMZ zone, which is the world's most militarized area at the moment.

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North Korean surveillance severely affects tactical military deployment in South Korea.This is aggravated by reports about the state of the anti-missile system, which is still questionable as some personnel in the South Korean intelligence are saying that THAAD can't warn incoming attacks in real time.

The installation of THAAD is also huge issue for the new president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in. The new president has suspended the further installation of the THAAD after some deployment details were withheld from Moon. However, the suspension may also be influenced by the new president's decision to open up talks with North Korea. Moon desires to reignite diplomacy between the two nations, Despite Moon's attempts to reach out to North Korea, Pyongyang adamantly said that talks will only resume if Seoul completely severs ties with the United States.

The United States, on the other hand, is starting to ramp up its defenses on its assets in the Korean peninsula. Two carrier task forces are already deployed in the region, with a third one deployed to meet up with USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan. The U.S. Military is certain to continue to pressure North Korea into submission through continued show of force tactics in the foreseeable future.