North Korea fired off short-range missiles last Tuesday close to the arrival of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to the region. Carter, who was on his inaugural trip to Asia as the newly confirmed Secretary of Defense, said the launch was a sign of the region’s continued tensions.
The human rights situation in North Korea has gained considerable attention lately, due in part to an official report released by the United Nations last year. The landmark report condemned North Korea for systematic and widespread human rights violations.
The attack on Mark Lippert, the American ambassador to South Korea, made headlines worldwide on Thursday. Since his arrival in Seoul last October, Lippert received high marks from the Korean people and the media for his accessibility to the public there. Lippert, a Stanford graduate, is a very close friend of President Obama, who has called him “brother,” and attended his ambassadorial swearing-in ceremony.