Trump praises Kim Jong Un's 'courage' in UN address

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and hailed ongoing efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula during a Tuesday speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

The president proclaimed that "the missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction" and that the "specter of conflict" has been replaced with a "push for peace."


"I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done," Trump said.

"I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment," he added. "A moment that is actually far greater than people would understand. Far greater.”

Trump went on to thank the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China for their support in negotiations with North Korea, though he has previously suggested China was being unhelpful and failing to properly pressure Pyongyang.

The president has lavished praised on Kim in the months since the two leaders met face-to-face in Singapore, calling him a "talented negotiator" who "loves his country."

Trump's comments mark a drastic reversal from his U.N. address one year ago, when he derided Kim as "Rocket Man" and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if provoked.

In the 2017 address, Trump noted the numerous human rights violations in North Korea that have taken place under what he deemed a "depraved regime," calling on other nations to isolate Kim.

The president's optimism toward North Korea comes as Kim has agreed to dismantle a missile test site and a nuclear complex. The latter action will take place if the U.S. agrees to unspecified reciprocal measures.

Trump said Monday that a second meeting with Kim could take place "quite soon" after Kim expressed a desire to meet with the president again.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE told reporters that he expects to travel to Pyongyang before the end of the year in preparation for such a summit.