Trump hails 'incredible' Kim Jong-un for 'wiping out' uncle
Donald Trump has praised the leadership style of North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un, for the "amazing" way he murders political rivals.
During a Republican political rally in Iowa at the weekend, he repeated his assertion that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the US before turning his attention to the North Korean despot, who has carried out frequent purges of officials.
"You've got to give him credit. 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, he's the boss," said Mr Trump.
"It's incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn't play games."
His comments appear to be a reference to the disappearance of Jang Song Taek, who married the sister of Kim's father and predecessor as supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il.
He was accused of being a counter-revolutionary, was stripped abruptly of all his posts and his image digitally removed from regime photographs. North Korea announced his execution following conviction by a special military tribunal.
Mr Trump's comments came days after Pyongyang claimed it had detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time - a claim treated with scepticism by many analysts.
The nuclear test was followed by celebrations in North Korea.
The US responded by sending a nuclear-capable B-52 long-range bomber on a low-level flight over South Korea in a show of strength.
This was not the first time Mr Trump has been complimentary about an enemy of the US. He recently accepted praise from Vladimir Putin, returning the sentiment by saying it was a "great honour to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond".
On the home front, Trump has been raising doubts about rival Ted Cruz's eligibility for the presidency, saying Republicans will risk losing a lawsuit - and potentially the nation's highest office - if they nominate Cruz as their candidate.
With Cruz edging Trump in polls in Iowa, which will hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses next month, the billionaire real-estate developer spent much of an hour-long speech in Reno, Nevada, on Sunday questioning whether Cruz's birth in Canada could disqualify him from being president.
Born in Calgary to a US-born mother, Cruz has said he meets the constitutional requirement that a president be a natural-born US citizen. Trump, who earlier raised doubts about President Obama's birthplace and eligibility for office, intimated last week that Cruz may not meet the legal standard and has not backed off since.
"Ted has to solve this problem," Trump told more than 5,000 cheering supporters at the Reno Events Center. "He's got a big problem. If he were lucky enough to win and be your candidate, he's going to be sued by the Democrats."
Cruz himself said on CNN's 'State of the Union' that his mother was born in Delaware and has "never been a citizen of any other place".
"The Internet has all sorts of fevered swamp theories," he said.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released earlier showed that Cruz leads Trump in Iowa - by a margin of 28pc to 24pc.