Mark Lippert, the United States ambassador to South Korea, underwent surgery after he was injured by a knife attack on Thursday.
The 42-year-old ambassador suffered a deep wound to his face and a cut to the wrist. His condition is stable, after he underwent surgery and 80 stitches to his face.
The attacker of Lippert is Kim Ki-jong, 55, a Korean nationalist. In 2010, Kim attacked the Japanese ambassador in Seul with a piece of concrete and it was convicted to suspended jail term.
According to Reuters, Kim’s attack against Mark Lippert was a protest against the joint military drills carried out by South Korean and U.S. troops, which the assailant said it damaged the reconciliation process between North and South Korea.
He used a small knife in the attack, which happened in an arts center nearby the U.S. embassy. It is expected that the police will charge Kim with attempted homicide.
U.S. President Barack Obama wished Lippert a speedy recovery by telephone.
Kim, who visited North Korea eight times in 2006 and 2007, acted alone, even though he is a member of an active group that supports Korean unification.
He inflicted a 4 inches gash on the right side of Lippert’s face, from the cheekbone to his lower jaw. Besides five smaller gashes to the left hand, his wrist was also punctured. The nerve damage was repaired by surgeons, who will keep the ambassador under surveillance in the hospital for another three days.
North Korea and it’s news agency, KCNA, called the attack “a just punishment” and said it represented the anger of South Koreans for the “warmongering United States”.
On the other hand, South Korean President Park Geun-hye condemned the incident, saying it was not only a physical attack on a U.S. high official, but also an attack on the alliance between South Korea and the United States, which can never be tolerated.
Mark Lippert served in the U.S. Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he proved himself and won the Bronze Star. The ambassador in Seoul, a post he took in November, was a former U.S. Senate aide of President Barack Obama.
Lippert tweeted that he was in great spirits and doing well, adding that he was deeply moved by the support he received.
Image Source: Heavy