The Twisted Timeline of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

How "Little Rocket Man" and the "deranged dotard" trod a path from insults to handshakes.

The North Korean missile threat didn’t begin with Kim Jong Un, and U.S. attempts to counter it didn’t start with Donald Trump. But Kim’s inheritance of North Korean leadership and Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency have seen the relationship reach new levels of intensity — and now, perhaps, a chance at some kind of change. Kim’s final push to turn North Korea into a true nuclear power and Trump’s dramatic language and promises of action pushed the two countries to what could have been the brink of war. But even as the two leaders exchanged insults such as “Little Rocket Man” and “deranged dotard,” the possibility of a meeting was constantly dangled, promised, forgotten, and reinstated. In this timeline, Foreign Policy traces the course of missiles, insults, and sudden reversals that has led to this week’s historic summit in Singapore.


Amy Mackinnon is an editorial intern at Foreign Policy. (@ak_mack)

Amy Cheng is an editorial intern at Foreign Policy. (@Amy_23_Cheng)

Humza Jilani is an editorial intern at Foreign Policy. (@humza_jilani)