WASHINGTON, May 1: US President Donald Trump has described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a "pretty smart cookie".
Speaking to CBS, he noted Mr Kim had assumed power at a young age, despite dealing with "some very tough people".
Amid escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme, he said he had "no idea" whether Mr Kim was sane.
The North Korean leader had his uncle executed two years after he came to power, and is suspected of ordering the recent killing of his half-brother.
President Trump, asked what he made of the North Korean leader, answered:
"People are saying: 'Is he sane?' I have no idea.... but he was a young man of 26 or 27... when his father died. He's dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.
"And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie."
The interview on the Face the Nation show came after North Korea's second failed ballistic missile test in two weeks, in which a missile exploded shortly after it was launched on Saturday.
When asked why the missiles "keep blowing up", Mr Trump said: "I'd rather not discuss it."
"We shouldn't be announcing all our moves," he said. "It is a chess game. I just don't want people to know what my thinking is."
North Korea is believed to be continuing efforts to miniaturise nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the US.(BBC)