Here’s a link to the story, and here’s a picture:
Picture released of injured U.S. ambassador Lippert on YTN pic.twitter.com/ztxS3QzwmH
— Mark Broome (@mark_arirang) March 4, 2015
Hat tip to Sung Yoon Lee. More to follow, but initial word I’m hearing suggests a political motive.
Update 1: AFP’s report has more details.
Seoul (AFP) – The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was injured in an attack by a razor-wielding assailant Thursday in Seoul, police and television reports said. The YTN news channel, citing police sources, said a man with a razor blade concealed in his right hand had attacked Lippert as he was attending a breakfast function in central Seoul. The channel carried a picture showing the bleeding ambassador holding his right hand to his right cheek, with his left hand smeared with blood. Lippert, 42, was taken to hospital, but his injuries were reportedly not life-threatening. The assailant, who was immediately taken into custody, reportedly shouted an anti-war slogan as he lashed out at the envoy, who only took up his post in Seoul last October. The United States and South Korea launched annual joint military exercises this week, triggering a surge in tensions with North korea.
It will be interesting to see if North Korea praises this, although it’s hard to see even them being stupid enough to order it.
Update 2: Some of you will recall that in 2006, Park Geun-Hye was also the victim of a similar slashing attack. I never saw it reported that the North was behind that attack, although one of the few things Park ever did to impress me was to react coolly afterward. As for the assailant’s motives, well, let’s just say I’m adding a “Fifth Column” tag to this post. The Chosun Ilbo is reporting that the assailant shouted, “The two Koreas must be reunified.” Yonhap adds:
The suspect shouted his opposition to the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises that started Monday, police said. The exercises are part of Seoul and Washington’s efforts to better deter threats from North Korea.
I loved the next sentence.
Police said they were questioning the suspect to determine the motive for the attack.
In July 2010, Kim received a suspended two-year prison term for throwing two pieces of concrete at a Japanese ambassador to Seoul. He published a book last year in which he details his assault on the Japanese envoy, Tosinori Shigeie.
Kim is the head of a liberal organization that protests Japan’s territorial claims over South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo. He changed the address of his family register to Dokdo in 2006 after the Japanese prefecture of Shimane designated a day named after Takeshima, which is what the islets are called in Japan.
I wish we’d stop calling people like this “liberal.” That’s an insult to conscientious liberalism. Shall we set up a little pool for the first reporter to call the slasher a “peace activist?”
So a serial assailant of foreign diplomats was allowed to run loose on the streets, lead his own organization, and attack again? Look — you can believe that Shinzo Abe is a repulsive human being and a war crimes denier, and still see that this is the sort of conduct you should expect in a society where any political leader can earn cheap applause by vilifying a former enemy. Or so it has been said.
Update 3: This is what’s known as “premeditation.”
Assailant used kitchen knife to attack US ambassador and was member of group that invited Mr. Lippert to speak, police say. — Alastair Gale (@AlastairGale) March 5, 2015