South Korean police are seeking charges of attempted murder against Kim Ki-jong who attacked the US ambassador to Seoul, Mark Lippert.
Mark Lippert is recovering in hospital after Kim Ki-jong attacked him with a knife on March 5.
During the attack, Kim Ki-jong called for reunification of the two Koreas.
Police said they were also investigating Kim Ki-jong’s links with North Korea, after it was revealed he had made multiple visits.
“We are investigating whether there is any connection between the suspect’s visits to North Korea and the crime committed against the US ambassador,” Yoon Myeong-seong, head of Seoul’s central Jongno district said according to Reuters.
A small group of people in South Korea see the US as the main obstacle to the reunification of a divided Korean peninsula.
Mark Lippert received 80 stitches to a deep cut in his cheek and is recovering in hospital.
Yoon Myeong-seong said authorities wanted to charge Kim Ki-jong with attempted murder, violence against a foreign envoy and business obstruction, Yonhap news agency reported. Police have requested a formal detention warrant.
Kim Ki-jong, who was apprehended after the incident, told police that he did not intend to kill Mark Lippert.
Yoon Myeong-seong also said they were considering charging him with violating South Korea’s National Security Law, which bans South Koreans from publicly sympathizing with the government of North Korea.
Kim Ki-jong also shouted opposition to annual US-South Korean military drills, which began on March 2, during the attack.
North Korea traditionally opposes the drills, which it describes as a rehearsal for invasion. Late on Thursday, it described the attack as “just punishment for US warmongers”, in a statement on state media.
Doctors said Mark Lippert would be discharged early next week.
The attack raised questions about security for diplomatic personnel. Mark Lippert had a bodyguard with him when the attack took place. Police were also there, but not at the request of the US embassy or the organizers of the event.
The responsibility for the safety of diplomats lies with the host nation.
After the incident, the South Korean government ramped up security for diplomatic missions, including the US embassy. Police said they were providing protection for Mark Lippert.
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