Trump says Kim Jong Un wants to meet 'as soon as possible' and calls him 'very honorable'


President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was "very honorable" and "very open" ahead of a planned meeting between the two leaders.

"Kim Jong Un — he really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we're seeing," Trump said to reporters, as French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House.

Trump has proven eager to meet with and conduct diplomacy with Kim despite spending almost all of 2017 threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation and responding to Pyongyang's own threats. The president said Tuesday that the North Koreans want the meeting "as soon as possible."

But since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and sweeping rounds of US-led sanctions after intercontinental ballistic missile tests and a massive nuclear test, Kim has opened himself up to diplomacy.

RELATED: Everything you didn't know about Kim Jong Un

First North Korea offered to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, then made the same offer to Trump, and then Kim unexpectedly went to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump reportedly accepted the offer to meet Kim without consulting his secretary of state at the time, Rex Tillerson. South Korea's Moon was less eager, but ultimately agreed when Kim agreed to meet his conditions.

Trump previously said he'd be "honored" to talk to Kim, which he now looks likely to achieve.

He's also expressed admiration for Kim's leadership of North Korea, despite the fact that the regime runs labor camps that have been likened to Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Europe.

"Not many 27-year-old men could go in and take over a regime ... Say what you want, but that's not easy — especially at that age," Trump told ABC News before his inauguration in January 2016.

"How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden ... he goes in, he takes over, and he's the boss," Trump said. "You gotta give him credit."

Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands.

But experts warn Business Insider that North Korea has entered into and backed out of talks with the US before, and may simply be working to gain sanctions relief as the country's economy falters.

NOW WATCH: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump tried to cut a secret deal with Planned Parenthood — here's what happened

RELATED: A look back at missile launches conducted by North Korea in 2017

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Trump had some oddly kind words for Kim Jong Un at a press conference with Japan's PM