Trump said on October 1, 2017, negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program would be a waste of time, after it emerged that Washington had channels of contact with Pyongyang.
WASHINGTON - News that Donald Trump would meet Kim Jong Un struck Washington like a ton of bricks - particularly as the brash leaders of the feuding nations have engaged in rhetorical warfare in recent months.
The US and North Korean leaders will meet before May&39;s end, in a development South Korea&39;s President Moon Jae-in dubbed a "miracle."
Last year, the mercurial Trump said he would be "honored" to meet Kim -- whom he has characterized as both "madman" and "smart cookie."
Kim, meanwhile, has called the Republican commander-in-chief "mentally deranged" and a "dotard."
Here are some key quotes from the Trump-Kim squabble.
Whose button is bigger?
Kim used his annual New Year address to warn he has a "nuclear button" on his table, sweetening his remarks by expressing an interest in dialogue.
Trump jumped on his favored medium of Twitter in response: "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the &39;Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.&39; Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
The North&39;s official party newspaper dismissed Trump&39;s "swaggering" as nothing but the "spasm of a lunatic" frightened by North Korea&39;s power, and the "bark of a rabid dog."
&39;Rocket man&39; versus &39;US dotard&39;
In his debut speech at the United Nations in September, Trump dubbed Kim a "rocket man" on a "suicide mission."
"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," he said.
"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump added. "The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary."
Kim retorted with his own tongue-lashing, vowing to "surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire," in an address read out on state television by a star news anchor before a still image of Kim at his desk.
"A frightened dog barks louder," Kim said of Trump.
On the heels of an intercontinental ballistic missile test from Pyongyang in November, Trump derided Kim as a "sick puppy," drawing cheers from a crowd of supporters at a campaign style rally.
A few weeks later, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) warned while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize that the bellicose rhetoric could trigger nuclear war.
"A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities," ICAN head Beatrice Fihn said.
&39;A madman with nuclear weapons&39;
"We can&39;t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that," Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during an April phone call.
"We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 -- but we don&39;t want to use it."
But in an interview that aired April 30, he called Kim "a pretty smart cookie" - expressing admiration that the North Korean strongman "was able to assume power" at a young age.
&39;Honoured&39; to meet Kim
"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it," Trump said of Kim in May.
And now, Trump has formally agreed to a first face-to-face meeting with Kim.
The only prominent American who has met Kim is former basketball star Dennis Rodman, who Trump once fired from his reality show Celebrity Apprentice.
The former Chicago Bulls star - who said he went horseback riding and sang karaoke with Kim during his multiple visits - greeted news of the historic summit on Twitter.
"Much respect to President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong Un for their upcoming historic meeting," Rodman wrote on Twitter.
"I said it back in 2014 that doors will open. Peace Love NotWar."