The Chinese navy unveils the upgraded version of the Type 055 destroyer off Qingdao, eastern China, on April 23, 2019, during a fleet review marking the 70th anniversary of the navy's foundation. (Kyodo via Associated Press)

China's navy commissioned its biggest and most advanced surface warship yet, the Nanchang guided-missile destroyer, on Sunday morning in the port city of Qingdao, state media reported.

Observers say the commissioning of China's first 10,000-ton-class Type 055 destroyer, which is expected to accompany aircraft carriers in battle groups, is a step forward as Beijing seeks to operate farther from its shores and punch farther into the western Pacific.

Launched in June 2017, its commissioning marks the navy's leap from the third generation to the fourth generation of destroyers, the navy said in a statement.

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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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Repairs have been completed on the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, which was involved in a collision in 2017 that left 10 sailors dead and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, and the vessel is now conducting "comprehensive at-sea testing," the U.S. Navy said Monday.

In its first sea voyage since the deadly accident, the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based ship and its crew were due to perform a series of demonstrations to evaluate whether its onboard systems meet the U.S. Navy's minimum performance specifications.

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The U.S. reportedly offered a long-term plan to help North Korea develop a tourist area in return for denuclearization during recent working-level talks in Stockholm that ended with the North side walking out, according to a new report.

American negotiators had drafted a plan to help build up the Kalma tourist area, the South's Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported Saturday, citing an unidentified top South Korean diplomat. The report didn't say how the North Koreans responded to the offer, but chief nuclear negotiator Kim Myong Gil portrayed the U.S. as inflexible after the talks earlier this month, blasting the Americans for not giving up "their old viewpoint and attitude."

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In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."

A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

North Korea on Saturday fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, South Korea's military said, with the apparent weapons test — its fifth in 16 days — flying in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's jubilant exhortations after receiving another "beautiful letter" from Pyongyang hours earlier.

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