U.S. President Donald Trump has delivered a message directly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, describing his country as a "hell" that no person deserves, committing crimes "against God and man."
Trump spoke on Wednesday in Seoul before South Korea's National Assembly during his Asia trip, where he took time to issue a direct message to Kim.
"The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face," Trump warned.
"North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves," he added, referring to dictator Kim Il-sung.
"Yet despite every crime you have committed against God and man, you are ready to offer — and we will do that — we will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable, and total denuclearization," Trump offered.
The North Korean regime has been accused by the United Nations and world leaders of various human rights abuses over the decades, and is listed by persecution watchdog groups, such as Open Doors USA, as the most oppressive country for Christians in the world.
The U.S. president alluded to those abuses in his speech, calling North Korea a "prison state" that starves its own people.
"An estimated 100,000 North Koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor, and enduring torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis," Trump pointed out.
He continued: "In the part of Korea that was a stronghold for Christianity before the war, Christians and other people of faith who are found praying or holding a religious book of any kind are now detained, tortured, and, in many cases, even executed."
Kim has lashed back against sanctions imposed on his country by the U.S. and others due to continued ballistic missile tests, and has threatened the American territory of Guam.
North Korean officials told CNN in response to Trump's speech in South Korea that they "don't care about what that mad dog may utter because we've already heard enough."
They also accused Trump of heightening tensions between the nations, and said that three U.S. aircraft carriers and a submarine are currently stationed off the coast of the Korean Peninsula.
"The United States is threatening us with nuclear aircraft carriers and strategic bombers. They are challenging us with with the most vicious and demeaning provocations but we will counter those threats by bolstering the power of justice in order to take out the root cause of aggression and war," the officials stated.
Groups such as the North Korea Freedom Coalition praised Trump's speech, however.
"As the leader of the Free World, you sent the most powerful message that could be sent to the people of North Korea that you care — and all freedom loving people care — about their suffering under the triple Kim dictatorships," the organization wrote in a letter to the White House.
The NKFC said that past U.S. presidents failed to speak the truth, and relied on negotiations that "only emboldened the dictatorship."
"All of these decades when we failed to raise these concerns about the gross human rights violations in North Korea, we fed into Kim's lie: that we are their enemy, and he needs nuclear weapons," it wrote.
"You changed all of that yesterday by giving the most powerful speech of any U.S. President exposing the many aspects of brutality of Kim's dictatorship from the political prison camps to the daily hunger and deprivation and to the cruelty imposed upon those who try to flee North Korea including forced abortions."