How Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un traded barbs before making up

From name-calling to planning a summit, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are now scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Here is a look at some of the key milestones in their on-again, off-again relationship.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are currently set for an unprecedented meeting by May.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are currently set for an unprecedented meeting by May.PHOTO: REUTERS

After months of name-calling and insult-trading, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put on a surprising show of amicability on Friday (March 9).

The two men are now set for an unprecedented meeting by May, as South Korean envoy Chung Eui Yong announced that Mr Trump had accepted an invitation from Mr Kim to discuss the North's denuclearisation.

According to Mr Chung, Mr Kim had expressed his eagerness to meet the US leader.

Mr Trump responded in kind with a tweet: "Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearisation with the South Korean representatives, not a freeze.

"Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made... meeting being planned!"

Here is a look at the timeline of the dramatic exchanges between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, which started on a cautious note in April last year but eventually turned ugly.

April 27, 2017

Mr Trump in an interview with Reuters: "As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational."

 
 

April 30, 2017

Mr Trump in an interview with CBS: "People are saying: 'Is he (Kim) sane?' I have no idea.... but he was a young man of 26 or 27... when his father died. He's dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.

"And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie."

May 1, 2017

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr Trump said he would be honoured to meet the North Korean leader.

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it," Mr Trump said. "If it's under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that."

July 4, 2017

Mr Kim, after the test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on the US' Independence Day: "American b***ards would be not very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary."


The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test launch in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, on July, 4 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS/KCNA

July 4, 2017

Mr Trump: "North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?

"Hard to believe that South Korea... and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!".

Aug 8, 2017

Mr Trump: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Aug 11, 2017

Mr Trump: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

Aug 11, 2017

Mr Trump: "If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat... or if he does anything with respect to Guam, or any place else that is an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast."

Sept 19, 2017

Mr Trump tells the United Nations that if the US is threatened: "We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," he adds.

Sept 21, 2017

Mr Kim:"He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician."

"Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire."


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean People's Army at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang. PHOTO: AFP/KCNA

Sept 21, 2017

Mr Trump: "Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before."

Sept 24, 2017

Mr Trump: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

Sept 24, 2017

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the UN General Assembly that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after "Mr Evil President" Trump called Pyongyang's leader a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

Sept 28, 2017

North Korea accused Mr Trump of exploiting US student Otto Warmbier's death, calling the US President an "old lunatic".

"The fact that the old lunatic Trump and his riff-raff slandered the sacred dignity of our supreme leadership, using bogus data full of falsehood and fabrications, only serves to redouble the surging hatred of our army and people towards the US and their will to retaliate thousand-fold," said a statement by the official KCNA news agency.


US President Donald Trump and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in meet at South Korea’s presidential Blue House in Seoul, on Nov 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS 

Nov 11, 2017

"Trump, during his visit, laid bare his true nature as destroyer of world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula," North Korea's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the state news agency after Mr Trump's first visit to Asia.

Nov 12, 2017

Mr Trump: "Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me 'old' when I would never call him 'short and fat'? Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!"

Nov 29, 2017

North Korea launches a 3am test of Hwasong-15 - its most advanced missile that purportedly puts the entire US within reach. It was North Korea's 20th launch of a ballistic missile that year.

Mr Kim declared his country had "finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force".

Jan 1, 2018

Mr Kim: "The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat.

"This year, we should focus on mass-producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment. These weapons will be used only if our society is threatened," he said in his annual address.

Jan 3, 2018

Mr Trump: "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'nuclear button is on his desk at all times.'

"Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a nuclear button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works!"

Jan 11, 2018

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Trump said: “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.”

Feb 25, 2018

Spokesman for South Korea's President Moon Jae In, Kim Eui Kyeom said: "President Moon noted that North Korea-United States dialogue must take place soon in order to improve South-North Korean relations and to find a fundamental solution to the Korean Peninsula issue. To this, the North Korean delegates responded that the North was quite willing to start talks with the United States and agreed that relations between North and South Korea and those between the North and the United States should develop simultaneously.”

Feb 26, 2018

A day later, Mr Trump said in remarks to US governors at the White House: “We want to talk also… (but) only under the right conditions... Otherwise we’re not talking.”

March 6, 2018

South Korean envoys who met with Mr Kim released a statement saying that the North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearise.

“It made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed.”

That same day, Mr Trump tweeted that "possible progress" was being made in talks with North Korea.

March 9, 2018

The next day, Mr Trump said Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearisation with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze.

"Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

The same day, he said he was ready to meet Kim Jong Un, in response to Mr Kim's invitation to hold the first US-North Korea summit.

March 11, 2018

Mr Trump continued tweeting about progress in relations, saying that North Korea had promised not to conduct a missile test.

April 21, 2018

Mr Trump said North Korea had agreed to suspend all nuclear tests and close a major test site. 

April 27, 2018

Moon Jae In met Kim Jong Un, while Mr Trump regaled the historic meeting in a tweet.

He also thanked Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his involvement.

May 9, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned from North Korea with three American detainees.

May 10, 2018

Mr Trump revealed the location of his summit with Mr Kim - it would be held in Singapore on June 12.