U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert underwent two-and-a-half hours of surgery after he was slashed in the face by a Korean nationalist in an attack at a forum in Seoul on Thursday to discuss Korean reunification.
Lippert, 42, was bleeding from deep wounds to his face and wrist but was able to walk after the attack. Doctors said later his condition was stable after “very successful” surgery that required 80 stitches in his face.
The assailant was caught and identified by police as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong. In 2010, Kim tried to attack the Japanese ambassador to South Korea by throwing a piece of concrete. He was given a suspended jail term, according to police.
The attack was a protest against joint military exercises by South Korean and U.S. troops, which Kim said interfered with reconciliation between North and South Korea, according to police following an interrogation.
Witnesses and police said Kim used a small fruit knife in the attack. Police are considering whether to charge him for attempted homicide, a police official involved in the case said.