The praise to which Vladimir Putin honored Kim Jong-un is quite deserved - the Korean leader is indeed emerging as a winner from the confrontation with the United States. He achieved what meets the national interests of his country - and now it remains only to fix this victory.
Putin rarely praises the leaders of other countries - and even more so for the first time he noted the one with whom he is not personally acquainted. But the leader of North Korea, Marshal Kim Jong-un, received Putin's comment very opportunely - not because on Monday he turned 35 (or 36 - if we proceed from a later version of his biography), but because
This week has become a watershed in the Korean crisis, already a year in the focus of attention of the whole world.
On Tuesday, the first high-level contacts between the two Koreas took place - the ministerial meeting at the border was the first step towards de-escalating tension. The situation was aggravated by Trump - more precisely, his reaction to the missile and nuclear tests, which 2017 spent Pyongyang.
Throughout the year, Washington threatened to deal with the DPRK in any way, even to the military, and sanctions against the DPRK were toughened - with the consent of Russia and China, while encouraging Americans and Koreans to sit down at the negotiating table. The Trump administration then loudly refused -including, among other things, for domestic political reasons, it also loudly agreed. And finally, the inter-Korean meeting was the first step in this direction. Seoul canceled the military maneuvers that were scheduled for the forthcoming Olympics, which allowed Pyongyang to announce sending its delegation to the Games and arrange a ministerial meeting in Panmunjom.
Now everyone is talking about hopes for negotiations - Trump puts himself in credit the fact of Kim's consent to a meeting with South Koreans. Here, they say, how useful was the policy of tightening sanctions and a formidable tone - silent about the fact that the main reason for the DPRK's agreement was that their main demand was fulfilled: the rejection of US-South Korean maneuvers. Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a telephone conversation with the President of South Korea said that Beijing firmly advocates for better relations, reconciliation and cooperation between South Korea and the DPRK. And Vladimir Putin at a meeting with media editors on Thursday praises (it's a Soviet newspaper stamp, but it's really relevant) to the Korean leader:
"I think that Mr. Kim Jong-un undoubtedly won this game. He decided his strategic task: he has a nuclear charge, there is a global-range missile - up to 13 thousand kilometers, which can reach any point of the globe, at any rate, any point in the territory of its probable enemy. Now he is interested in clearing the situation, smoothing down, calming down. He is an absolutely literate and mature politician. "
Indeed, Kim Jong-un won - but not because he beat twice his older Trump, but because he did not play. For the US president, the escalation of tension around the Korean nuclear missile program was only a way to earn points in other fields: during a strategic game with China and in the operation to create in the US its own image as a tough leader.
Neither of which war with Kim Trump seriously and did not think - although he did his best to pretend that, in extreme cases, and ready for this. But for Kim, the exchange of courtesies and confrontation with Trump was not a game, but a matter of life and death - not his own, but his state and people.
You can laugh at such an explanation - but in order to realize its reality, it's enough just to put yourself in the place of the head of the country, which was bombed by 67 years ago, and now faced with their unprecedented pressure. A country that by and large can count only on itself - although it was clear that China and Russia are categorically against the attack on it, yet Kim conducted an absolutely independent policy. Fought for his country - and won. As Putin said, adding that the settlement of the crisis is possible only if Pyongyang guarantees security.
"But we must proceed from the realities ... act very carefully, and if we set ourselves an intractable task to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, then we can do this only through dialogue and through negotiations. However difficult it may seem, it is ultimately possible if all participants in this process, including the North Koreans, are convinced and will be sure that their security can be guaranteed even without nuclear weapons. "
Putin did not say who can guarantee the security of the DPRK - but it is clear that this can only be the three great powers: China, Russia and the United States. Moreover, the US is primarily - after all, they are afraid (and quite justified) of North Korea, it was against them that the Juche-rocket-nuclear shield was created. Guarantees of non-aggression on the part of the US and the conclusion of a peace treaty with the DPRK are the best and only way to solve the "Korean problem" generated by the Americans.
Putin knows this better than all the world leaders - after all, the "Korean issue" was, in fact, the first international crisis that he faced when he became president of Russia - in July 2000, just two months after his inauguration, he visited Pyongyang to discuss already then a stalled nuclear problem. At that time, North Korea still did not have an atomic bomb or intercontinental missiles - all this it created in the following years, responding to the American threat constantly hanging over it.
Then in the Country of morning freshness Putin negotiated with Kim Jong Il, the father of the current leader - and Kim Jong-un was still in school (according to some sources, in Switzerland). But now, for six years in power, Kim externally passed the exam to be considered one of the strongest world leaders. With whom we will have to reckon - and eventually meet - to all players of the highest geopolitical league.