U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday described North Korea as "evil place" referring to egregious human rights violations highlighted by the UN.
"North Korea is one of the most closed and cruel places on earth. There's no question about it," he told MSNBC. "There's evil that is taking place there that all of us ought to be deeply and are deeply concerned about."
He said, "They have conducted executions, using 122-mm aircraft guns to obliterate people and force people to watch these kinds of executions."
He added, "This is an evil, evil place. And it requires enormous focus by the world in order to hold it accountable. And I think every aspect of any law that can be applied should be applied."
Kerry made the remarks ahead of the State Department's release of an annual human rights report. They were among the harshest criticisms of the North by top U.S. government officials since former U.S. President George W. Bush's description of the regime as part of an "axis of evil" in 2002.