Uncategorized US ambassador assailant charged with attempted murder

US ambassador assailant charged with attempted murder

Kim Ki-Jong leaves a police station to attend court in Seoul on March 6, 2015
Kim Ki-Jong leaves a police station to attend court in Seoul on March 6, 2015

(AA) — South Korean prosecutors Wednesday officially charged a local man in his 50s with trying to kill the Seoul-based U.S. ambassador at an event in the capital last month.

Mark Lippert needed around 80 stitches after suffering knife wounds to his face and arm during a breakfast function focused on Korean reunification March 5.

Kim Ki-jong, 55, was arrested at the scene and faces additional charges of violence against a foreign envoy and business obstruction, according to local news agency Yonhap.

Kim could be imprisoned for life or be handed a death sentence if found guilty of attempted murder — though capital punishment has not been enforced in South Korea since 1997.

Local media at the time of the attack made much of Kim’s series of past provocations against the U.S. and Japan, as well as his visits to North Korea. Prosecutors are yet to decide whether he has sufficient links to Pyongyang to also charge him with violating the South’s National Security Act.

The North has been particularly angered by ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills, which began in the same week as the attack on Lippert.

Nearly 30,000 American military personnel are based in the South as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War — Seoul and Pyongyang never signed a peace treaty at the end of the conflict.

Lippert was defiant as he updated his blog on Wednesday, however, marking his first such post since returning to work.

“This incident has only strengthened our belief in the unbreakable bond that exists between the United States and the Republic of Korea,” the envoy wrote

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