Tuesday, March 10, 2015 1:12 pm
The US ambassador to South Korea left hospital Tuesday following treatment for a knife attack, saying the incident was “scary” but would not change his “open and friendly” approach to the job.
Mark Lippert, 42, underwent surgery to treat deep gashes to his cheek and hand after he was slashed by a knife-wielding nationalist at a breakfast function in central Seoul last Thursday.
Hospital officials said that after five days of treatment the US diplomat had now had all 80 stitches from his face removed and the pain in his left wrist had subsided.
“I feel pretty darn good, all things considered,” a smiling Lippert said before he was discharged, speaking to journalists with part of his face covered with clear adhesive bandages.
“It was obviously a scary incident but I am walking, talking, holding my baby, hugging my wife. So I just feel really good,” the new father said, adding he would get back to work “as soon as possible”.
Lippert, whose popularity among South Koreans has only grown since the attack, expressed gratitude at the “outpouring of support” he and his family have received.
“We have made it our mission to be open and friendly. And that will not change,” he said.
“The bottom line is that this incident has only strengthened our love and affection for this country and our belief in the unbreakable bond that exists between the United States and the Republic of Korea.”
The assailant, Kim Ki-Jong, was formally charged with attempted murder on Friday, despite his pleas that he never intended to kill the ambassador.
Asked if he had carried out the assault on the orders of North Korea, Kim insisted he acted alone.
Kim, 55, has a previous conviction for hurling a rock at the then-Japanese ambassador in 2010.