Vladimir Putin has claimed Kim Jong-un is a "shrewd and mature" leader having outplayed his rivals in the West with his nuclear missile ambitions.

The Kremlin strongman congratulated the North Korean dictator, saying he had won the latest stand-off with the US and South Korea.

Tensions between the hermit nation and the rest of the world has been ratcheted up by Donald Trump's rhetoric, mainly on his Twitter account, and Moscow's stance will not have done anything to alleviate the ill-feeling, reports Daily Mail.

Talking about Pongyang's nuclear and missile programmes today, the Russian President said: "I think that Mr Kim Jong-un has obviously won this round.

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"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."

Meeting with top Russian media figures, Mr 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".

Talking about Pongyang's nuclear and missile programmes, the Russian President said: 'I think that Mr Kim Jong-un (pictured) has obviously won this round'. Photo / KCNA
Talking about Pongyang's nuclear and missile programmes, the Russian President said: 'I think that Mr Kim Jong-un (pictured) has obviously won this round'. Photo / KCNA

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

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

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.

Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile. Photo / KCNA
Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile. Photo / KCNA

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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