GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States' failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and "brutal and inhumane" U.S. sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.

O'Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearization commitments he made at summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at a railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that his country is no longer bound by its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, while also warning of a "new strategic weapon" that he vowed to soon reveal to the world, state-run media reported Wednesday.

"There is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer," Kim said of the moratorium during a meeting of top ruling party officials, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported.

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KCNA

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Monday it has taken control of web domains which were used by a hacking group called "Thallium" to steal information.

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(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

The United States would be very disappointed if North Korea tested a long-range or nuclear missile and would take appropriate action as a leading military and economic power, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday.

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Republic of Korea Special Warfare Command service members provide security coverage from an observation point during a training event at Kunsan Air Force Base, South Korea, Nov. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Capt. David J. Murphy)

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean and U.S. special operations forces recently conducted drills simulating the infiltration of an enemy facility, U.S. military photos seen by Reuters on Monday show, as tensions with North Korea ratchet up ahead of a year-end deadline.

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A South Korean soldier watches a TV showing a file footage for a news report on North Korea firing a missile that is believed to be launched from a submarine, in Seoul, South Korea, October 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

SEOUL (Reuters) - A last minute flurry of diplomacy aimed at engaging with North Korea ahead of its declared year-end deadline for talks has been met with stony silence from Pyongyang so far, with the looming crisis expected to top the agenda at summits in China next week.

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, was due to leave Beijing on Friday after meeting with Chinese officials. Earlier in the week, Biegun also made stops in Seoul and Tokyo for discussions with counterparts.

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