Vladimir Putin says 'shrewd and mature' North Korean leader has 'won this round'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (above) has completed his strategic task, said Putin. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (Jan 11) that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "shrewd and mature" and had won the latest standoff with the West over his nuclear and missile programmes.

"I think that Mr Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round. He has completed his strategic task: he has a nuclear weapon, he has missiles of global reach, up to 13,000km, which can reach almost any point of the globe," Putin told Russian journalists at a televised meeting.

Russia has voted at the United Nations in favour of international sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear programme, while urging the West to show restraint and calling for talks over the issue.

Putin reiterated that dialogue with North Korea was warranted, and said Kim now wanted to calm the situation.

"He is already a shrewd and mature politician," Putin said.

North Korea and South Korea held talks on Tuesday after a prolonged period of tension on the Korean peninsula over the North's missile and nuclear programmes.

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