Passport

North Korea Calls Stabbing of U.S. Ambassador a ‘Knife Attack of Justice’

North Korea makes the most out of an attack against U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert in its latest move to troll the United States.

kimattack

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.

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.”

Photo credit: Handout/The Asia Economy Daily via Getty Images

Justine Drennan was a fellow at Foreign Policy. She previously reported from Cambodia for the Associated Press and other outlets. Twitter: @jkdrennan

More from Foreign Policy

Volker Perthes, U.N. special representative for Sudan, addresses the media in Khartoum, Sudan, on Jan. 10.

Sudan’s Future Hangs in the Balance

Demonstrators find themselves at odds with key U.N. and U.S. mediators.

In an aerial view, traffic creeps along Virginia Highway 1 after being diverted away from Interstate 95 after it was closed due to a winter storm.

Traffic Jams Are a Very American Disaster

The I-95 backup shows how easily highways can become traps.

Relatives and neighbors gather around a burned vehicle targeted and hit by an American drone strike in Kabul.

The Human Rights vs. National Security Dilemma Is a Fallacy

Advocacy organizations can’t protect human rights without challenging U.S. military support for tyrants and the corrupt influence of the defense industry and foreign governments.

un-sanctions-inspectors-china-foreign-policy-illustration

The Problem With Sanctions

From the White House to Turtle Bay, sanctions have never been more popular. But why are they so hard to make work?