Putin says "shrewd and mature" N.Korean leader has "won this round"

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Sanders disputed the Journal's audio and transcript that shows Trump said, "I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea". "I have relationships with people".

North Korea has repeatedly threatened to turn the U.S. into "darkness and ashes" using the nuclear weapons they are developing at a surprisingly rapid rate. The analyst, the report said, was briefing Trump last fall on "the impending release of a family long held in Pakistan".

Mr Trump attempted to explain the aggressive tweets on Thursday, telling the Journal: "You'll see that a lot with me, and then all of the sudden somebody's my best friend. I'm a very flexible person".

When the analyst responded that she was Korean, the president reportedly responded by asking a nearby adviser why the "pretty Korean lady" was not negotiating with North Korea's government on behalf of the Trump administration.

The quote made headlines for appearing to contradict Trump's prior comments on the North Korean leader, who he has frequently derided and mocked as "Little Rocket Man".

Putin says
Putin says "shrewd and mature" N.Korean leader has "won this round"

"I believe, Mr Kim Jong-un has certainly won this round", he added, also saying that the leader "has a nuclear (charge) and a ... missile with a range of up to 13,000 kilometers that can reach almost any place on Earth or at least any territory of his potential adversary".

But Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted - in a Twitter meme - that Trump was misquoted. "I just don't want to comment".

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 its allies.

At the same time, USA troops are reportedly training in the kind of tunnel warfare - and buying the specific kinds of gear - necessary to wage war in North Korea.

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