South Korea calls for 'WARTIME' control as North Korea war 'imminent'

The trilateral drill comes less than two weeks after Pyongyang test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile and declared it had achieved nuclear statehood escalating global alarm over its weapons push

Moon's trip to China comes two weeks after Pyongyang launched an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29, resuming its missile provocations after a 75-day hiatus.

This is the sixth time that the three countries have shared ballistic missile tracking information, according to Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera is asking for funds to build an Aegis Ashore ballistic missile interceptor system. "It will translate into a measure against ballistic missiles", he said.

North Korea has showcased its rapidly improving missile and nuclear weapons programs through a series of provocative tests this year.

The US and South Korea held large-scale military drills last week that the North said made the outbreak of war "an established fact".

"Right now, our military faces a very serious situation where North Korea's nuclear and missile threats are fast becoming more real and advanced", the president said at the luncheon at his office Cheong Wa Dae. After the launch, Pyongyang announced that the missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, while the entire United States territory was within its range.

It did not say whether the controversial THAAD system would be involved. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. During his stay in Chongqing, Moon will visit the site of the provisional government of Korea, which operated in various locations in China during Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula in the first half of the 20th century. The Pentagon has mounted repeated shows of force after North Korean tests.

South Korea added several North Korean groups and individuals to its sanctions list Monday in a largely symbolic move that is part of efforts to cut off funding for the North's weapons programs.

"This unilateral sanction will prevent illegal funds flowing to North Korea and contribute to reinforce global communities' sanctions against North Korea", South Korea's finance ministry said in a statement.

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