"Adversaries can indeed become friends."

President Donald Trump had almost nothing but praise for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their summit Tuesday in Singapore. 

While he said in a press conference after the meeting that he had broached the subject of North Korea's atrocious human rights record, he mostly flattered Kim and expressed confidence in the dictator's commitment to dismantling his nuclear arsenal. 


"Adversaries can indeed become friends," Trump said at the press conference. "We signed a very comprehensive document, and I think he's going to live up to that. I think he will start that process right away. I really feel that very strongly."


"He might want to do this as much or more than me," Trump added. 

“It's going great. We had a really fantastic meeting. A lot of progress. Really, very positive, I think better than anybody could have expected, top of the line, really good," Trump said the leaders' working lunch.


While signing the agreement, Trump  said he and Kim had a "very special bond."


Posing for photographs afterward, Trump said he had learned that Kim was a “very talented man” who "loves his people" and "loves his country."


Kim offered more restrained expressions of positivity, saying during his bilateral meeting with Trump, "The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today."


Trump's confidence in Kim extended to the concessions he made to North Korea. Beyond being the first US president to agree to meet with a leader of the repressive North Korean regime, Trump said at the press conference that he was suspending military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, calling them "provocative."


He also said he hoped to eventually end the decades-long US military presence in South Korea, which has been designed to secure regional stability. 


"At some point... I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home," Trump said while specifying that is "not part of the equation right now."


In exchange, Kim only vaguely promised in an agreement he and Trump signed to denuclearize his country. There was no definition of what that meant or mention of a timetable or a mechanism for verifying compliance.


During the press conference, reporters asked Trump how he could praise Kim's talent given the brutality of his regime, including in the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died shortly after being released from North Korean prison in a coma last year.


"I do think he is talented," Trump said, citing Kim's young. "I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today."

When pressed by reporters on North Korea's abuses of its citizens, Trump said: "It's rough. It's rough in a lot of places, by the way. I think it will change."


A 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea found his crimes included, "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation."


Trump defended his generosity to Kim by saying US diplomacy could be saving tens of millions of lives. 


"You have seen what was perhaps going to happen," he said during the press conference. "I think you could have lost 20 million people or 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to do this. I think potentially you could have lost 30 million or 40 million people. The city of Seoul. It is right next to the border."


Indeed, just a year ago, Trump and Kim seemed to be moving toward a nuclear crisis. Trump mocked the North Korean leader as "Little Rocket Man" and threatened to unleash "fire and fury" and to "totally destroy" the country if it continued to threaten the United States or its allies. 


Kim responded by dismissing the president as a "mentally deranged dotard" who would "pay dearly" for his threats.