Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his annual end-of-year press conference, where he answers a question from an American AP journalist.
KATE DE PURY, ASSOCIATED PRESS: The U.S. wants Russia to do more to persuade North Korea to halt its missile programs. Would Russia support tougher sanctions against North Korea? Do you think that cooperation on North Korea could warm up U.S.-Russia relations, or have you lost hope of mending them under Mr. Trump?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: You're interesting people, really. Have you noticed your congressmen, your senators, they look so nice and handsome with ties and shirts, and they seem to be smart people.
But they put [Russia] on the same shelf as North Korea or Iran. And at the same time, they ask the U.S. president to address the issues of North Korea and the Iranian nuclear program together with us. Are you OK? It just looks weird. It just doesn't make much sense.
Anyway, our policy, unlike that of certain other countries is not nearsighted. We do not look at our immediate goals. We do our best to work with everybody on critical security issues.
We don't get offended, we don't act arrogant, we don't make grudges, when some people make certain decisions...
We don't recognize North Korea as a nuclear state, we think that all the things happening there are counterproductive.
There was an agreement in 2005 that they will suspend their nuclear program, and they made certain commitments. Everybody was happy, we all agreed and signed this agreement. And then a few months later, the U.S. decided to go beyond this agreement, and they froze their assets, their bank accounts, and said North Korea should do something beyond this agreement.
North Korea then withdrew from this agreement, and relaunched its nuclear program. Why did you do that? Why did you sign this agreement if you thought it was not enough. You provoked North Korea to withdraw from this agreement, and then it was even worse.
There was Libya and Iraq, I have mentioned this many times. For North Korea, this was the only way of self-preservation. WMDs and missiles. And now they have a missile that can reach the U.S., apparently...
Both sides should stop escalating the situation, so we heard from the U.S. that they would stop military drills. No, they have another military exercise, and North Korea responded by launching another missile.
You have to stop at a certain point, you have to stop this from spiraling. This is extremely dangerous.