On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert was slashed with a razor blade by a man named Kim Ki-jong who reportedly shouted a pro-Korean-reunification slogan and denounced American-South Korean military exercises. North Korea subsequently praised the slashing, calling it a “just punishment” for the aforementioned exercises. Now South Korean authorities are wondering if there is any connection between Lippert’s attack and the seven visits his attacker made to North Korea between 1999 and 2007:
“We are investigating whether there is any connection between the suspect’s visits to North Korea and the crime committed against the U.S. ambassador,” Yoon Myeong-seong, chief of police in Seoul’s central Jongno district, told reporters.
Most South Koreans have never visited the secretive North. The two states technically remain at war under a truce that ended the 1950-53 Korea War, and a heavily armed border divides the peninsula.
Kim, who in 2010 attempted to attack a Japanese ambassador with a piece of concrete, denied to reporters that he had ever traveled to the North.
In other North Korea news, one of the country’s diplomats may face criminal charges in Bangladesh after being caught trying to enter the country with 60 pounds—$1.4 million worth—of gold in his personal luggage.