The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on his right cheek and hand with a knife.
The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was attacked in Seoul, and is in stable condition, receiving treatment at a local hospital, according to the U.S. embassy.
According to Seoul police, Lippert was slashed on his right cheek and hand with a knife measuring about 10 inches long at 5:42 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
A South Korean news agency reported that the suspect was opposed to the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills that launched earlier this week, but Seoul police said the motive for the attack and how it was organized are under investigation.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed the ambassador had been attacked while giving a speech in Seoul Thursday morning, and said that the South Korean embassy is coordinating with local law enforcement on the attack.
"We strongly condemn this act of violence. The ambassador is being treated at a local hospital. His injuries are not life threatening," she said.
South Korean president, Park Geun-hye condemned the attack: "This incident is not only a physical attack on the US. ambassador, but an attack on the South Korea-U.S. alliance and it can never be tolerated."
She pledged a "thorough investigation and strengthening" of protection.
Lippert is a longtime friend and confidant of President Barack Obama, who has been a member of his inner circle since the President's time as senator. According to National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan, Obama called Lippert to wish him well.
"The President called U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Mark Lippert, to tell him that he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to wish him the very best for a speedy recovery," Meehan said in a statement.
According to local police chief Yoon Myung-seon, the event was organized by the Korea Council For Reconciliation and Cooperation, and the suspect in the attack was a member of the council.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the suspect is a 55-year-old man with the last name "Kim," who authorities say was opposed to the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills that kicked off earlier this week.
Yonhap reported that the suspect came up from behind, pushed Lippert down on a table and started attacking him.
In July 2010, Kim received a suspended two-year prison sentence for throwing a piece of concrete at a Japanese Ambassador to South Korea, Yonhap said.
South Korea's YTN news channel reported that Lippert was about to deliver a speech at a breakfast being held at Sejong Hall in Seoul. The report says nothing specific about the attack, only that yelling was heard and then the bloodied ambassador was taken to the hospital.
The suspect was reportedly detained and is currently under investigation.