Jan 11, 1:01 PM EST

Putin calls Kim Jong Un 'competent and mature' leader

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says North Korea's Kim Jong Un has shown himself to be a mature leader who is interested in calming down the tensions over its nuclear and long-range missile programs.

Meeting with top Russian media figures on Thursday, Putin said Kim "is an absolutely competent and already mature politician" who has "solved his strategic task - he has a nuclear warhead and a global-range missile."

Now, in Putin's view, Kim is "cleaning up the situation, smoothing it, calming it."

Kim and President Donald Trump have engaged in an increasingly sharp war of words as North Korea's weapons programs advance, each of them belittling the other.

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