WATCH: South Korea’s Yoon tells North Korea to ‘take the right path’ during U.S. visit

In a speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol warned of the growing threat of North Korea’s developing nuclear program.

Yoon also addressed North Korea’s authoritarian leader, Kim Jong Un, urging him to abandon the “obsession” with nuclear weapons and begin the process of denuclearization. Yoon has said that doing so would open North Korea to improved economic stability.

“My government will respond firmly to provocations,” Yoon said. “But at the same time, we will keep the door open for dialogue on North Korean denuclearization.”

Yoon also raised a recent report on North Korean human rights abuses that documents instances of people being executed for violating COVID-19 protocols, watching South Korean shows and possessing Bibles.

The South Korean president also drew parallels between the North’s 1950 invasion of South Korean and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

“Korea’s experience shows us just how important it is for democracies to uphold solidarity. Korea will stand in solidarity with the free world,” Yoon said. “We will actively work to safeguard the freedom of the people of Ukraine and support their efforts in reconstruction.”

While in the U.S. on a state visit, Yoon and President Joe Biden signed a declaration that expands the U.S.-Korean alliance aimed at deterring the North Korean nuclear threat.

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