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North Korea Rejects Links to US Envoy Attacker

As envoy recovers in hospital, Pyongyang claims Seoul using incident to bolster ties with Washington at North’s expense

Alex Jensen / SEOUL

North Korea accused South Korea on Sunday of pursuing an "ulterior intention" by investigating alleged pro-North links behind knife attack on US Ambassador Mark Lippert in Seoul.

Kim Ki-jong, 55, was formally arrested Friday on multiples charges, including attempted murder, after being caught red-handed wounding Lippert's face and arm during a breakfast event the day before.

Kim made it clear to onlookers that he was unhappy about ongoing joint South Korean-American military drills, and about Lippert's role in inter-Korean relations since the 42-year-old only took up his post in Seoul last year.

"The South Korean regime's ulterior intention is to egg its American master on to re-list [North Korea] as a 'sponsor of terrorism' and strengthen the collusion with the U.S.," read the statement from the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

Meanwhile, Lippert could be set for an earlier release from Seoul's Severance Hospital than Wednesday, the original date put forward by doctors treating him.

The envoy, having undergone 80 stitches, could be discharged Tuesday afternoon, according to a briefing delivered to reporters Sunday.

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