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South Korean Kim Ki-jong, who stabbed US Ambassador Mark Lippert earlier this year, has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for attempted murder.

Kim Ki-jong, 56, attacked Mark Lippert at a breakfast function in a Seoul hotel on March 5.

The US ambassador in South Korea needed 80 stitches in his face and hand and was left scarred.

Kim Ki-jong, a known Korean nationalist, had made multiple visits to North Korea.

He said he was protesting against joint South Korean-US military drills but did not intend to kill Mark Lippert.Kim Ki jong ambassador attack 2015

The prosecution, however, argued the force of the attack was so great that it might well have been fatal. They had sought a 15-year prison term.

Kim Ki-jong was also convicted of assaulting a foreign envoy, but cleared of a charge under the National Security Law of assisting North Korea.

The Seoul Central District Court said he had “shown no repentance, attempting to justify his actions throughout the trial,” the AFP news agency reported.

Mark Lippert spent five days in hospital but has since returned to work and said the US mission in Seoul would remain “open and friendly”.

The US has some 28,000 military personnel based in South Korea, and the two militaries regularly carry out military exercises together.

The drills are an ongoing source of tensions with North Korea, which views them as preparation for war. They are also unpopular with many in South Korea, with demonstrations regularly staged against them.


A man accused of making an online threat to kill US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert has been arrested in Seoul, the Yonhap news agency reports.

The man, identified only by his surname Lee, allegedly posted the threat on the White House website earlier this month.

Photo AP

Photo AP

According to Yonhap, Lee, who denies guilt, was arrested on July 14 at the request of US authorities and found to have draft copies of the letter on his laptop.

Ambassador Mark Lippert was injured in an knife attack in Seoul in March.

He suffered deep gashes to his face and hand when Korean nationalist Kim Ki-jong lunged at him with a knife at a breakfast meeting in a hotel.

Kim Ki-jong is on trial for a string of charges linked to the attack.

Yonhap said that as well as the draft letter – the details of which have not been made public – Lee’s confiscated laptop showed he had visited the White House homepage and was storing a screen grab of when he posted the letter.

Police told Yonhap they believed Lee was acting alone.


US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert could face a “bigger mishap” than the knife attack to his face last month if he does not stop insulting North Korea with “laughable” accusations, a North Korean propaganda unit said.

Ambassador Mark Lippert said in a speech on April 15 that if North Korea improves its human rights record and takes steps to end its nuclear program, it will be rewarded with prosperity and better ties with the outside world, including the US.

North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Mark Lippert’s remarks were proof that Washington was intent on hostility.

Photo Yonhap

Photo Yonhap

“Lippert needs to drop the bad habit of rashly engaging in scheming chatter distorting the truth and instigating war by taking issue with us,” the committee said in a commentary published on April 16 on the Uriminzokkiri propaganda web site.

“Otherwise, next time, he could face a bigger mishap than getting cut in the cheek by a South Korean citizen,” it said.

North Korea frequently rails at the US, South Korea’s biggest ally, accusing it of preparing for imminent invasion.

A US State Department spokesperson said: “We have seen the statement which is unfortunately consistent with the nature of the regime and its rhetoric.”

Mark Lippert was slashed in the face with a fruit knife by a South Korean man with a history of erratic behavior at a breakfast forum in central Seoul that left a gash that required 80 stitches. He also suffered injuries to his arm.

South Korean police charged Mark Lippert’s attacker with attempted murder. He was not charged with any North Korea-related crime after being questioned over his multiple visits.

North Korea previously called the attack “deserved punishment” but denied any role in it.

US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert is in a stable condition after being slashed on the face by a militant Korean nationalist at a breakfast meeting in Seoul.

Mark Lippert, 42, was also cut on his left hand, with blood spattered over the breakfast table.

Security officers subdued the attacker, one pinning him down with a shoe on his neck, until he was arrested.

Mark Lippert had hospital treatment but later said he was “doing well”.

“Doing well and in great spirits!” the ambassador tweeted.

“Will be back ASAP to advance US-ROK [Republic of Korea] alliance!”

President Barack Obama called his ambassador to wish him “the very best for a speedy recovery”, a US official said.

The US state department said it strongly condemned the incident which South Korean President Park Guen-hye described as an “attack on the South Korea-US alliance”.Mark Lippert knife attack

Witnesses say the attacker, a 55-year-old man with a history of militant Korean nationalistic activism, shouted demands for North and South Korea to be reunified.

It took 80 stitches to close the ambassador’s facial wound, which was just more than 4 in long, doctors said.

The cut did not affect his nerves or salivary gland, hospital spokesman Chung Nam-sik said.

The attack happened at about 07:40 local time, as the ambassador was at a performing arts centre in central Seoul, South Korean police say.

The assailant, named as Kim Ki-jong, reportedly shouted “South and North Korea should be reunified!” before lashing out at the envoy.

He also reportedly condemned annual military exercises held jointly by South Korea and the US, which are currently under way.

North Korea has described the exercises – which involve more than 200,000 troops – as a rehearsal for an invasion and has vowed retaliation.

A small group of South Koreans believe that the American military presence prevents unification of the two Koreas.

The assailant previously threw concrete at the Japanese ambassador to South Korea.

Mark Lippert – a former US assistant secretary of defense – was appointed ambassador to South Korea in 2014.

The ambassador’s wife gave birth in South Korea, and the couple gave their son a Korean middle name, according to the Associated Press.

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