U.S. ambassador to South Korea attacked, cut with razor blade
SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert was attacked in Seoul, possibly by more than one person, according to U.S. government sources. He is in stable condition, according to a U.S. Embassy spokesperson.
According to Seoul police, Lippert was slashed on his right cheek and hand with a small razor blade at 5:42 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
A South Korean news agency reported that the suspect was opposed to the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills that launched earlier this week.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed the ambassador had been attacked while giving a speech in Seoul Thursday morning, and said that the U.S. Embassy is coordinating with local law enforcement on the attack.
“We strongly condemn this act of violence. The ambassador is being treated at a local hospital. His injuries are not life threatening,” she said.
President Barack Obama called Lippert “to tell him that he and his (Lippert’s) 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 spokeswoman.
According to South Korea’s YTN news channel, Lippert was about to deliver a speech at a breakfast being held at Sejong Hall in Seoul.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the suspect is a 55-year-old man with the last name “Kim,” who authorities say was opposed to the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills that kicked off earlier this week.
Yonhap reported that the suspect came up from behind, pushed Lippert down on a table and started attacking him.
In July 2010, Kim received a suspended two-year prison sentence for throwing a piece of concrete at a Japanese Ambassador to South Korea, Yonhap said.
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.