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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump NASA offers to show Stephen Curry evidence from moon landings Freedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump shakes up staff with eye on 2020, Mueller probe Trump ultimatum sparks fears of new arms race Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' MORE told reporters that he expects to travel to Pyongyang before the end of the year in preparation for such a summit.