US President Donald Trump has issued a blunt warning to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in an address to South Korea’s parliament.
“Do not underestimate us. Do not try us,” he said, while also condemning the “dark fantasy” of life in the North.
He addressed Mr Kim saying “the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer”, and urged other nations to join forces to stop Pyongyang.
The US leader is now in China as part of a five-nation tour of Asia.
He will meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks likely to focus on trade and North Korea.
Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions have been high on Mr Trump’s agenda throughout this trip. Over the past year North Korea has carried out missile tests in defiance of UN sanctions and in September conducted its sixth and biggest nuclear test.
Trump vows r Trump’s words to South Korean lawmakers were being closely watched and while his rhetoric was stark, he did not repeat his previous bombast towards the North.
These are the most striking points from his speech:
Trump made a personal address to Kim Jong-un
In an unexpected move, Mr Trump chose to directly address North Korea’s leader in his speech, urging him to discard his nuclear programme and weapons.
“They are putting your regime in grave danger,” warned Mr Trump. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.”
He also made reference to North Korea’s founder and Mr Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, in words likely to inflame Pyongyang.
“North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.”
But Mr Trump also appeared to reiterate Tuesday’s offer to reach a deal, saying that “despite every crime you’ve committed… we will offer you a path for a better future”.
He warned the North against ‘fatal miscalculation’
He said that to interpret past US restraint as weakness “would be a fatal miscalculation”, as there was now a different US administration in place.
“Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries but for all civilised nations, when I say to the North: ‘Do not underestimate us. Do not try us’.”
He pointed to the heavy US military presence in the Korean peninsula including aircraft carriers and fighter jets, saying: “I want peace through strength.”
But he also made sure to single out North Korea’s biggest economic supporter, China, as well as Russia, calling on them to sever all ties including economic ones.
‘Horror’ of North versus ‘miracle’ of South
Mr Trump spent a significant portion of his speech paying tribute to the achievements of the South since the Korean War, which cemented the division of North and South Korea.
After his speech, Mr Trump and his wife visited Seoul’s National Cemetery which honours the war dead
He contrasted this with the “horror of life” in North Korea and said their separate trajectories were “a tragic experiment in the laboratory of history”.
“The more successful South Korea becomes, the more decisively you discredit the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime,” he told lawmakers.
He also talked golf
While listing South Korea’s achievements, Mr Trump also spent considerable time noting its prowess in the golfing world, saying its players are “some of the best on Earth”.
Mr Trump, an avid fan of the sport, played in Japan earlier in his Asian tour.