In sharp contrast to his fiery rhetoric these past weeks, President Donald Trump now boasted on Thursday that he has a "very good relationship" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This comes just days after his infamous "bigger button" tweet where the two leaders saber rattled with their potentially world-ending nuclear arsenal.
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un," Mr. Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. "I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised."
Mr. Trump has declined to say whether he and the North Korean leader spoke directly with each other. "I'm not saying I have or haven't," he said.
Obviously, the comment has managed to raise more than a few eyebrows especially after he mocked the Kim numerous times in the past few months referring to him as a fat "Little Rocket Man."
Back in September, Mr. Trump referred to his North Korean counterpart as a leader of a "band of criminals" and later said he was a "madman." Two months later in November, Trump referred to Kim as "a sick puppy."
Unwilling to be outdone, Kim responded to Mr.Trump's tirades, at one point calling the president a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and "a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician." The back and forth between the two leaders have been branded by many observers as "childish."
The more positive outlook adopted by the president this week appears to have stemmed from the recent thawing of relations between North Korea and South Korea. Kim recently announced that they are willing to talk with its southern neighbor and even expressed his willingness to send athletes at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in PyeongChang 2018.
It is unclear whether this new tone will be the precursor for a more permanent retreat from the angry exchanges with North Korea which Mr. Trump had often stoked during his first year in office. However, he did express concern that the proposed bilateral talks between the North and South are motivated by the former's attempts to drive a wedge between the US and its ally.
"The difference is I'm president, other people aren't," Mr. Trump said. "And I know more about wedges than any human being that's lived."