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Donald Trump - Kim Jong Un 'war of words' timeline

August 9, 2017

The North Korean and US leaders have engaged in an escalating war of words in recent months. Tensions revolve around Pyongyang's developing missile and nuclear weapons programs. DW has the best quotes.

A North Korean ballistic missile at a Pyongyang parade
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

April 30: Trump gives North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a backhanded compliment, calling him, "a pretty smart cookie."

During an interview with a CBS news program, Trump noted that Kim came to power at the age of 27 - in 2011 - and had to fight to hold on to that power.

"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."

So, Trump concluded, "obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie."

May 1: Even when Trump attempts to be diplomatic it comes across as bombastic, saying he would be "honored" to meet, face-to-face, with the North Korean leader: "If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it."

Clearly aware of the power of his declaration, Trump added: "We have breaking news."

The two sides technically remain at war. The Korean Armistice signed in July 1953, merely froze the conflict that began in 1950. A line was drawn along the 38th parallel dividing North and South Korea.

May 11: North Korea's UN Mission accuses US and South Korean intelligence agencies of plotting to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling the unsubstantiated claim a "declaration of war."

The statement added that a "Korean-style anti-terrorist offensive will be commenced to mop up the intelligence and plot-breeding organizations of the US and South Korea. And for good measure, the statement went on to say that North Korea will "hunt down and mercilessly smash every single one of the terrorist maniacs of the CIA and the South Korean" Intelligence Service.

May 15: Trump warns in an interview with Reuters news agency that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible. He adds that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

May 26: At the G20 meeting in Hamburg Germany, Trump vows the threat posed by North Korea's development of long-range missiles and its nuclear program "will be solved."

June 29: Referring to meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the White House and the subject of North Korea, Trump said: "We're going to have tremendous discussions tonight."

July 5:  North Korean state media described leader Kim Jong Un as "feasting his eyes" on an ICBM, which is said to be capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

"With a broad smile on his face," Kim urged his scientists to "frequently send big and small 'gift packages' to the Yankees," the state-run news agency said, an apparent reference to continuing the parade of nuclear and missile tests Kim has ordered since taking power in late 2011.

August 4: North Korea condemns US imposition of travel ban to the communist country, calling it "a vile measure to limit the people-to-people exchange so as not to allow the US citizens to see the true picture of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Now is the time for the Trump administration to come to its senses and make a decision to abandon its hostile policy," the statement continues. "We will always leave our door wide open to any US citizen who would like to visit our country out of good will and to see the realities with their own eyes."

August 5: The UN Security Council votes unanimously for tough new sanctions against North Korea. Trump hails the vote, saying the sanctions will have "very big financial impact!" He also thanked Russia and China for backing a measure that either one could have vetoed.

August 7Pyongyang blasts the UN sanctions, saying it would make the US pay a "thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes" committed against North Korea.

August 8: US President Donald Trump seeks to outdo Pyongyang in rhetorical bombast, warning of "fire and fury like the world has never seen," against North Korea.

He also warned that "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States."

bik/ng (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)