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World & Nation

U.S. diplomat tweets he’s OK after knife attack in Seoul

A wounded Mark Lippert leaves the Sejong Cultural Institute in Seoul after a knife attack on March 5.
(Munhwa Ilbo / AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea who was attacked in Seoul by a blade-wielding assailant, sent out a tweet Thursday saying he was doing well and would be back to work soon.

“Doing well&in great spirits! Robyn, Sejun, Grigsby & I -- deeply moved by the support!” the ambassador wrote, referring to his wife, son and dog.

Lippert, 42, who was taken to Kangbuk Samsung Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, suffered wounds to his face and wrist. Police said the attacker used a blade about 10 inches long and shouted that North and South Korea should be reunified, according to reports.

Police said the assailant was arrested. He was identified as Kim Ki-jong, 55,  who has a long history of anti-U.S. protests.

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The South Korean government issued a statement saying it was “appalled” by the attack.  

“Such harmful acts against diplomatic envoys cannot be tolerated under any circumstances,” the statement said, calling the United States the “most important ally” of South Korea.

The statement promised a thorough investigation and efforts to better ensure the safety of diplomats.

A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said Lippert was seated at a table at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday morning when he was attacked, not giving a lecture as some reports had stated.

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Photographs of Lippert showed him spattered with blood, with a hand raised to his right cheek and his left wrist wrapped in a cloth or bandage, the shirtsleeve below soaked in red.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence,” said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency called the knife attack “deserved punishment” for joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, deeming the assault “the knife of justice.”

Borowiec is a special correspondent.

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