A court in Seoul has handed a 12-year prison sentence to a South Korean man who slashed and seriously injured the US ambassador in March. Kim Ki-jong was convicted of attempted murder, assaulting a foreign envoy, and obstruction, according to a Seoul Central District Court spokesman. Both Kim and the prosecution have one week to determine whether to appeal. Prosecutors had previously asked for a 15-year prison term. Kim slashed Mark Lippert during a breakfast forum in Seoul, leaving deep gashes on the envoy's face and arm. Lippert, who needed 80 stitches, was treated for five days at a Seoul hospital.
Kim has described himself as an anti-US activist. He told police that his assault was meant to protest annual US-South Korean military drills but that he didn't intend to kill the ambassador. Police said Kim attempted to kill Lippert because he knifed him more than twice with a force that was enough to penetrate the ambassador's arm as he tried to block the attack. During earlier police questioning, Kim also said South Korea is a semi-colony of the US, according to Seoul police. Shortly after his arrest, Kim shouted that the war games were an obstacle against Korean reunification. (Pyongyang described the attack as a "knife shower of justice.")