Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that North Korea's Kim Jong Un would have his people "eat grass" before giving up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Putin was attending a meeting in Xiamen, China, of leaders of five emerging economic powers known as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Speaking at a news conference touching on a wide range of issues, the Russian leader echoed a phrase attributed to former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir Bhutto, who said in 1965 that Pakistanis "will eat grass, even go hungry" to acquire an atomic bomb. The South Asian country detonated its first nuclear device in 1998.
"They would rather eat grass but will not give up the [nuclear] program if they do not feel safe," Putin was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.
He described the bombastic rhetoric being traded between Washington and Pyongyang in recent weeks as "military hysteria."