The attack against U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert appears to have been the spontaneous act of one angry Korean nationalist. But in its latest move to needle the United States, North Korea is making the most of it, calling it a “knife attack of justice.”
The 55-year-old attacker, identified as Kim Ki-jong, reportedly blasted ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills and shouted that the North and South should be reunified. He then attacked Lippert, slashing his face and hand. KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, called the attack “just punishment for U.S. warmongers” and said it shows how South Koreans have it out for the United States.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement Thursday that Lippert was recovering after surgery for his wounds. The attacker is in custody, she said, but the State Department won’t yet speculate about his motive.
Apparently this wasn’t Kim’s first attack against a foreign diplomat — he threw a piece of concrete at a Japanese ambassador in 2010.
It also isn’t the first time North Korea has used an attack to make a little hay on behalf of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the isolationist state calls itself. In December, KCNA dubbed the hack of Sony Pictures a “righteous deed” in retaliation for the studio’s movie The Interview, in which actors Seth Rogen and James Franco are tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The movie’s plot, KCNA said, amounted to “abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK.”
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