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Putin Says 'Shrewd' North Korean Leader Has 'Won This Round'

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “won this round” in the latest standoff with the United States and South Korea over his nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.

"I think that Mr. Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round,” Putin told a group of Russian editors and media executives in Moscow on January 11.

“He has completed his strategic task: He has a nuclear weapon, he has missiles of global reach, up to 13,000 kilometers, which can reach almost any point of the globe," the Russian president added.

Putin said now that Kim had reached many of his goals, he was looking to calm the situation down.

"He is already a shrewd and mature politician," he added.

Putin’s comments come after the two Koreas held talks on January 9 in an effort to ease tensions ahead of the Winter Olympics scheduled for February 9-25 in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, but it agreed in the talks to send athletes and officials to the upcoming games.

Pyongyang and the United States have engaged in a war of words amid the North’s continued testing of its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, which have been banned by United Nations resolutions.

Russia has voted at the UN in favor of international sanctions against Pyongyang, but it has also urged the West to exhibit restraint and has called for talks over the nuclear issue.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

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