U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was delivering an address in Seoul when a man slashed his face and wrist while screaming for the unification of the two Koreas, according to South Korean Police.
Images were soon released after the Thursday (March 5th KST) incident depict Lippert staring in shock at his slashed left hand, holding his right hand over the cut on his face while blood spattered his clothes.
Lippert was preparing for an address at the performing arts center in Seoul — located directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy — when the attack occurred, and the U.S. State Department has strongly condemned the incident. Currently, the Ambassador is being treated at a local hospital as his injuries were not life threatening.
“We can confirm that U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mark Lippert was assaulted Thursday morning in Seoul while giving a speech. We strongly condemn this act of violence,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement according to Yonhap News.
Following the attack, “The President called U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Mark 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,” said Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokesperson, according to CNN.
According to YTN, the man screamed, “South and North Korea should be reunified,” when he attacked Lippert and continued to scream anti-war sentiments when he was taken into custody.
The attacker was wearing a traditional Hanbok when he was subdued by security while Lippert was hurriedly rushed to the hospital following the surprising attack. The police have identified the man as 55-year-old Kim, and the weapon he used had a 25cm blade.
Lippert (42) was appointed as ambassador last year following his position as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian affairs. He has a presence in Seoul both physically and on social media following his appointment and even gave his son a Korean middle name following his birth in Seoul.
The attack seemed to stem from long-standing political unrest as the two Koreas have been separated for decades across the heavily armed border.