Donald Trump’s bromance with Emmanuel Macron is so last week. The new international power couple is Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte and tyrannical North Korean despot Kim Jong Un.
Though the pair have yet to reach the dandruff-flicking stage, Duterte offered a poetic verbal embrace of Kim Sunday in the wake of last week’s summit with South Korea, calling him his “idol” and a “hero of everybody.”
"He has become my idol, Kim Jong Un," Duterte said during a press conference after he returned from an ASEAN summit in Singapore. "For all of the time, he was pictured to be the bad boy of the community. But with one master stroke, he is now the hero of everybody. He appears to be amiable, jolly good fellow, and very accommodating."
Kim portrayed a warm persona at the summit Friday, smiling with South Korean President Moon Jae In, and sharing handshakes, hugs, and even jokes — a persona hugely at odds with that of a ruthless killer who oversees a virtual slave state.
Duterte said if he met Kim, he’d congratulate him, adding, “I will tell him ‘I admire you. You have a sense of timing’.”
Duterte and Kim’s relationship has not always been so chummy. A year ago Duterte questioned Kim’s sanity, urging Trump not to be baited by someone who “wants to end the world.”
A few months later Duterte variously described Kim as a “fool,” a “maniac,” and “a crazy man” who is playing with “dangerous toys” that would turn the region into “an arid land.”
Cover image: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to members of the Philippine community during a gathering in Singapore on April 28, 2018. ( NICHOLAS YEO/AFP/Getty Images)