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'I Probably Have a Very Good Relationship with Kim Jong Un'

13 January 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "shrewd and mature" and had won the latest standoff with the West over his nuclear and missile programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea, as the victor in the latest standoff with South Korea and the United States over the north's nuclear and long-range missile development program.

"I think that Mr. Kim Jong Un has obviously won this round". Trump said. It's now unclear whether the two achieved friendship since that tweet.

Washington and Pyongyang are in a stand-off over North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, which could be used to target the United States and her allies.

Trump has derided the North Korean leader as a "maniac" and referred to him as "little rocket man".

Asked if he had spoken to Kim, Trump said "I don't want to comment on it. I'm not saying I have or I haven't". "But I just don't-", Trump responded. In the Journal interview, Trump suggested his combative tweets are part of a broader strategy.

But it was not clear how his remarks fit with his self-described policy of "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the conference of cell chairpersons of the ruling party in Pyongyang
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the conference of cell chairpersons of the ruling party in Pyongyang

The U.S. has not had formal negotiations with North Korea on its nuclear program since 2012.

Seoul responded with an nearly instantaneous offer of dialogue, culminating in the first meeting of the two sides in two years on January 9 at the border village of Panmunjom.

"He is already a shrewd and mature politician", Putin said. Trump has announced that the United States will withdraw from the agreement.

One U.S. official said one option would be to bomb a North Korean missile or nuclear facility based on a "high confidence" intelligence assessment that North Korea planned another test.

"We will be discussing with our partners and allies the kind of steps that we can take on maritime interdiction and also to be cutting, disrupting funding and disrupting resources", he said.

Despite the loss of nearly all trade, the impoverished North has pressed ahead with weapons development that Kim's regime sees as necessary for its survival in the face of USA pressure.

China sees the Trump administration's discussion of military options as a psychological game to force Beijing and Moscow to maintain pressure on Pyongyang, but they were making crisis preparations just in case, Zhao said.

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'I Probably Have a Very Good Relationship with Kim Jong Un'