The US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has praised North Korea's despotic leader Kim Jong-un, saying the way he executes his political opponenets shows "he's the boss".
Speaking at a Republican rally in Iowa on Saturday, Mr Trump was met with a silent protest as he repeated his now-familiar assertion that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to enter the US.
But while he continues to denigrate whole swathes of the population for following a religion, the billionaire reserved some praise for North Korea's dictator.
After coming to power when he was 28, Mr Kim cemented his rule through a series of purges, including the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek.
“You’ve got to give him credit," Mr Trump said. "How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden — you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?
"Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible.
"He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games and we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles and he really does have nukes."
Mr Trump was speaking after it emerged North Korea has carried out new nuclear weapons tests, which the hermit kingdom claimed involved its first hydrogen bomb.
The 2016 candidate has a track record of praising the leadership qualities of controversial world powers - from Vladimir Putin to the Chinese government. In August, he suggested Mr Kim might be a "genius" and called on South Korea to pay the US in exchange for the ongoing protection of its military allegiance.
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