Mark W. Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was recovering in a Seoul hospital Thursday after being attacked and slashed in the face by a knife-wielding man who said he opposed the U.S.’s military exercises in the country.
Lippert, 42, received 80 stitches for a 4-inch cut on the right side of his face, and also was stabbed in his left arm and hand, The New York Times reports.
The injuries were not life-threatening. Lippert was in stable condition after surgery and later posted a message on Twitter saying he was feeling well and hoped to return to work soon.
The attacker, who identified himself as Kim Ki-jong, slashed Lippert at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation. The ambassador was photographed holding his face, with his shirt and necktie spattered with blood, as he was rushed away from the scene.
Kim said he was protesting the annual joint military exercises that the U.S. began this week with South Korea.
“The suspect is in custody and U.S. law enforcement is coordinating closely with the Korean National Police, who have the lead on the investigation into the assault,” Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, said in a statement.
“The U.S.-ROK alliance is strong; we will not be deterred by senseless acts of violence,” Harf added. “Ambassador Lippert looks forward to getting back to work with his Republic of Korean counterparts to strengthen our bilateral relationship and to jointly address regional and global challenges.”