|U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert leaves a lecture hall for a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 5, 2015 after being attacked by a man with a roughly 10-inch blade|
U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was attacked by a man wielding a knife with a roughly 10-inch blade while giving a lecture in downtown Seoul Thursday [Mar. 5] morning local time, according to South Korean media. Media images showed a stunned-looking Lippert staring at his blood-covered left hand and holding his right hand over a cut on the right side of his face, his pink tie splattered with blood.
Lippert was taken to a hospital to treat his non-life threatening wounds after the attack, which happened at a performing arts center as the ambassador was preparing for a lecture about prospects for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula. He is in stable condition, the U.S. Embassy says. As Lippert was briskly escorted to a car after the attack, he held his bleeding face, according to video footage captured by Yonhap News.
The suspect has been identified as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong, who allegedly screamed during the attack, "South and North Korea should be reunified." He also expressed his discontent with joint South Korean-U.S. military drills that started this week before carrying out the attack, according to Yonhap News.
The drills aim to prepare both militaries against North Korean attacks. North Korea has described the training, which is scheduled to run through April, as preparation for an invasion, but U.S. and South Korean officials say they are defensive and routine.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still happening, said the suspect in 2010 threw a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul.
|A suspect in the attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert, identified by police as 55-year-old, surnamed Kim Ki-jong, is overwhelmed by participants at a lecture hall in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 5, 2015.|
Lippert, 42, became ambassador last year and has been mostly popular during his time in Seoul. His wife gave birth here and the couple gave their son a Korean middle name. Lippert was formerly the U.S. Assistant Secretary Defense for Asian affairs.