U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert was seriously injured after being attacked by a knife-wielding assailant at Sejong Center, central Seoul, Thursday. /Yonhap
By Yi Whan-woo
U.S. Amb. Mark Lippert had more than 80 stitches to treat a gush on his right cheek, 11 centimeters long and 3 centimeters deep, caused by a knife attack by a radical activist, Thursday.
According to a medical team of Yonsei University Severance Hospital, Lippert also sustained damage to tendons on his two fingers that doctors worried that could result in a partial loss of function for six months to one year.
They said that he was in stable condition and was recuperating after two and half hours of surgery.
The sources said 55-year-old suspect Kim Ki-jong cut Lippert's face and wrist with a blade during a morning lecture hosted by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC) at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Seoul.
Washington's top envoy to Seoul was entering the lecture hall when the incident took place.
Lippert was rushed to the nearby Gangbuk Samsung Hospital after the attack occurred around 7:30 a.m. and was later transferred to Severance Hospital for surgery.
The police arrested the suspect on the scene.
According to witnesses, the suspect shouted that he is against any military exercises before attacking Lippert.
Korea and the U.S. are currently conducting their annual joint military exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is closely following the case.