January 11, 2018 / 5:01 PM / 10 months ago

Putin says 'shrewd' North Korean leader has outplayed his rivals

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the State Council at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “shrewd and mature” and had won the latest standoff with South Korea and the West over his nuclear and missile programme.

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.

Putin, in a meeting with Russian journalists broadcast on state TV, said North Korea had developed powerful missiles, but now wanted to calm things down. Putin said only talks could resolve the standoff.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Christian Lowe; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Roche

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