from Asia Unbound

Shocking Reminder of Korea Tensions

support for lippert

March 5, 2015

support for lippert
Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

More on:

South Korea

United States

Diplomacy and International Institutions

A version of this post originally appeared on CNN and can be found here.

The attack on Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, allegedly by a knife-wielding Korean progressive activist at a breakfast meeting in Seoul, was a rare and shocking reminder of the ongoing conflict that continues to divide the Korean Peninsula.

Despite the ever-present backdrop of inter-Korean tensions, security in downtown Seoul is typically quite relaxed. But on Thursday morning local time, the alleged assailant, who has been tied to Korean nationalist and anti-U.S. protests, reportedly shouted his opposition to annual U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises and called for Korean reunification as he cut the ambassador on the face and hand with a 10-inch knife.

This breakfast meeting with Lippert was taking place at a building directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. And the scene was probably not too different from a similar breakfast meeting I attended with the ambassador at a downtown hotel only a week before the attack. Lippert moved freely without a security detail or security screenings at the entrance to the venue, and was accompanied by only one or two embassy staff. Indeed, even since 9/11, it is relatively easy to enter most large buildings in downtown Seoul, and security procedures have been generally perfunctory.

View full text of article on CNN.

More on:

South Korea

United States

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Close