U.S. ambassador to South Korea returns to work 2 weeks after knife attack

U.S. ambassador to South Korea back at work after knife attack in Seoul

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, returned to work Thursday, two weeks after a knife-wielding assailant attacked him at a forum in Seoul.

“Great to walk into work today,” Lippert tweeted, along with photos of him in a suit and tie, accompanied by his wife, newborn son, and dog. “Great to be back!”

Lippert was seated on stage at a breakfast forum at the Sejon Center for the Performing Arts March 5 when a man with a paring knife slashed his face and left arm, screaming about Korean unification. Photos showed Lippert spattered with blood, his arm wrapped in bandages and shirt-sleeve soaked red.

The attacker, identified by police as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong, was wrestled to the ground. According to South Korean police, Kim is an anti-U.S. activist who has a history of violent nationalist activism, including an episode in 2010 when he hurled concrete blocks at Japan’s ambassador to Seoul.

Lippert later called it a “scary incident.” He was released from the hospital five days later, his face bandaged and his arm in a brace.

Since becoming U.S. ambassador to South Korea last fall, Lippert has built a favorable reputation with many South Koreans, regularly walking his basset hound, Grigsby, in public, and even giving his newborn son a Korean middle name, Sejun.

Upon his release from the hospital last week, Lippert vowed not to change his “open and friendly” approach to diplomacy.

The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.

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