Knife Attack on US Ambassador in South Korea

Mark W. Lippert

United States ambassador to South Korea, Mark W. Lippert. Image: via U.S. Department of Defense.

A knife-wielding man who said he opposed American –South Korean military exercises attacked the United States ambassador to South Korea, Mark W. Lippert early Thursday morning. Mr. Lippert was in stable condition after undergoing surgery for knife wounds on his face and left arm, said Rober W. Ogburn who is the minister-counselor for public affairs at the American Embassy.

The attacker is identified as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong and he pounced on Lippert with a paring knife while shouting slogans about the need for North and South Korea to unify. The ambassador suffered from a four-inch cut on the right side of his face, which required 80 stitches. He also suffered from stab wounds to his left arm and hand while trying to resist the attacks said doctors at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital in Seoul which caused some nerve damage in his arm.

Late Thursday afternoon, Lippert took to his Twitter account to tell his followers and wife Robyn he is okay, “Doing well&in great spirits! Robyn, Sejun, Grigsby & I – deeply moved by the support! Will be back ASAP to advance US-ROK alliance!” he wrote, adding text in Korean that translates as “Let’s go together!”

The South Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the assault and they pledged a thorough investigation into the case. President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, who was visiting the United Arab Emirates, called the incident an “intolerable attack on the South Korean-United States alliance,” and she ordered a thorough investigation and more security for foreign envoys in Seoul.

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