Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, was assaulted by political activist Kim Ji-jong wielding a razor blade at approximately 7:40am this morning at a breakfast lecture organized by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation at the Sejong Center, just across the street from the U.S. embassy in Gwangwhamun, central Seoul.
Ambassador Lippert was seen holding the right side of his face while he was rushed to Kangbuk Samsung Medical Center to be treated for wounds to his face and arm. An Obama Administration official said that his injuries were not life-threatening.
YTN TV reported that the attacker, Kim Ji-jong, yelled that “South and North Korea should be reunified” during the attack. Video footage shows him being wrestled to the ground following his assault. He was dressed in a modern version of traditional Korean hanbok. He continued to scream anti-war and anti-military exercise slogans while being subdued. He was presumably talking about the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises that started Monday in the country.
The attacker is a well-known political activist in his 50s with a suspended 2-year jail sentence for throwing concrete at the Japanese ambassador to Korea in 2010.
Mark Lippert, 42, came as ambassador to South Korea last year. Before his appointment he was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian affairs. His wife gave birth in South Korea recently and their son has a Korean middle name.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying, “We strongly condemn this act of violence.” President Obama called Ambassador Lippert to tell him that “he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to wish him the very best for a speedy recovery,” according to National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.