BREAKING NEWS: US AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA HACKED WITH RAZOR BLADE

U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was slashed on the face and wrist by a man wielding a knife with a 10-inch blade and screaming that the rival Koreas should be unified, South Korean police said Thursday.
Media images showed a stunned-looking Lippert staring at his blood-covered left hand and holding his right hand over a cut on the right side of his face, his pink tie splattered with blood.
The U.S. State Department condemned the attack, which happened at a venue in a performing arts center in downtown Seoul as the ambassador was preparing for a lecture about prospects for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula, and said Lippert's injuries weren't life threatening. Lippert was in surgery at Seoul's Severance Hospital, a hospital official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the operation was still underway. The official didn't have details on the severity of the injuries.
YTN TV reported that the suspect — identified by police as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong — screamed during the attack, "South and North Korea should be reunified."





A witness, Ahn Yang-ok, the head of the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations, told YTN that Lippert had just been seated for breakfast ahead of the lecture organized by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation when a man ran toward the ambassador from a nearby table. A separate, unidentified witness said that as Lippert stood up for a handshake, the suspect wrestled the ambassador to the ground and slashed him with a knife.
Yonhap TV showed men in suits and ties piled on top of the attacker, who was dressed in a modern version of the traditional Korean hanbok, and Lippert later being rushed to a police car with a blood-soaked handkerchief pressed to his cheek. The suspect also shouted anti-war slogans after he was detained, police said.




A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still happening, said the suspect in 2010 threw a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul. South Korean media reported that in August 2010 that Kim Ki-jong was sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term over the attack. Kim, who was protesting Japan's claim to small disputed islands that are occupied by South Korea, missed the ambassador with the concrete and hit his secretary instead, the reports said.
Kim also reportedly tried to set himself on fire with gasoline while protesting in front of the presidential Blue House in October 2007. He was demanding a government investigation into an alleged 1988 rape in Kim's office, according to news reports.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the attack and vowing a thorough investigation and strengthened protection of embassies.
The suspect's reported comments Thursday on Korean reunification are likely linked to lingering, deep divisions in South Korea that stem from the 1950-53 Korean War. The rival Koreas have been divided for decades along the world's most heavily armed border. The U.S., which backed South Korea during the war against China-backed Pyongyang, still stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, and some South Koreans see the U.S. presence as a barrier toward a reunified Korea — a view North Korea's propaganda machine regularly pushes in state media.

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