Remember when President Donald Trump mocked and threatened North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un? For a while, it seemed to be his favorite pastime as he called the North Korean leader everything from “rocket man” to “madman” to “short and fat.” Now the tides seem to have turned and Kim Jong Un has become yet another authoritarian ruler that Trump simply can’t resist praising.
Trump said Friday night that North Korea is on track to become “a great Economic Powerhouse” some day as he unveiled details about his next summit with the dictator he once called “a bad dude.” U.S. envoys held “a very productive meeting” in north Korea and agreed that the next summit between Trump and Kim will take place in Hanoi on Feb. 27 and 28. “I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!” Trump wrote on Twitter. Trump had already announced the dates for the second summit and said it would be in Vietnam but hadn’t disclosed the city.
Merely making that announcement wasn’t enough for the president though as he went on to effusively praise Kim. Under the “leadership” of an authoritarian ruler that has no qualms about killing, torturing, and starving his country’s people, North Korea “will become a different kind of Rocket—an Economic one!” And although some people may be surprised, Trump will be expecting it. “I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is,” Trump wrote.
The State Department also said Friday that Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, held three days of talks in Pyongyang and will be meeting with North Korean officials again before the summit. Biegun and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Hyok Chol, “discussed advancing President Trump and Chairman Kim’s Singapore summit commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming U.S.-DPRK relations, and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the State Department said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name.
Support our journalism
Help us continue covering the news and issues important to you—and get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments, members-only content, and other great benefits.Join Slate Plus