Russian President Vladimir Putin paid North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a compliment on Thursday, calling him a “shrewd and mature politician” whose country had come out on top in its nuclear standoff with South Korea and the U.S.
In his New Year’s address, Kim warned of “a nuclear button on the desk in [his] office” that could launch a strike anywhere in the U.S., but also spoke of easing tensions between North and South Korea “to create a peaceful environment,” prompting a series of high-level talks between the two countries.
In a meeting with Russian journalists on Thursday, Putin praised Kim for his statements and for initiating the talks, the first of which took place on Tuesday.
“I believe Mr. Kim Jong Un has certainly won this round,” Putin said, according to Russian state news outlet RT.
“He has a nuclear [charge] and a…missile with a range of up to 13,000 kilometers that can reach …