Trump on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: ‘He is starting to respect us’

President Donald Trump reflected on his recent verbal jousts with North Korea during a campaign rally in Arizona on Tuesday, claiming that the country’s bellicose leader was “starting to respect” the United States.

“And you see what’s going on in North Korea,” Trump said. “All of a sudden, I don’t know, who knows, but I can tell you, what I said, that’s not strong enough. Some people said it was too strong. It’s not strong enough.”

Trump appeared to refer to threats of “fire and fury” if North Korea continued its provocative behaviour toward the US and its allies.

“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,” he said.

After trading his heated rhetoric with North Korean propaganda outlets, Trump last week praised North Korea’s “wise” decision to back off from earlier threats of attacking the US territory of Guam. The two countries ramped up their rhetoric amid reports that North Korea had successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit into missiles — an alarming improvement in their offensive capabilities.

“But, Kim Jong Un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us,” Trump said at the Tuesday rally. “I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact.”

“And maybe, probably not, but maybe something positive can come about,” Trump said.

“They won’t tell you that,” he added, referring to the media. “But maybe something positive can come about.”