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March Today in Terrorism

March 5, 2015: Man stabs US ambassador in South Korea

On this day in 2015 the US ambassador to South Korea was attacked by a knife-wielding man who said he opposed joint US-South Korean military exercises.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – The presence of foreigners in one’s country often rankles the locals: some turn to terrorism to get them out.

People like their privacy. Even those who are extroverts need their down time after all. Always having someone in your space is, well, it is just aggravating!

The same goes for nations. Each country defines its own borders, its own customs and wants to keep things that way. Even among allies, too much closeness can get on the nerves.

The US has had a military presence in the Republic of Korea (aka South Korea) since 1950, when the so-called People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (aka North Korea: the only accurate part of its name is ‘Korea‘ as it is neither popular nor democratic nor a republic!) invaded the south. Hell, I watched enough episodes of M*A*S*H to know that!

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Just hangin’ around havin’ fun while a war is on! (Photo: 20th Century Fox Television)

That the US has been there for seven decades is a good thing for the ROK as one never knows what the Kims up in the DPRK will do next. Still, their welcome has not always been 100%. Some Koreans don’t want them to remain and make their position blatantly known!

On this day in 2015

The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark W. Lippert, was attacked by a knife-wielding man who said he opposed joint American-South Korean military exercises. The ambassador, who was attending a breakfast meeting, suffered a four-inch cut on the right side of his face, which required 80 stitches, as well as stab wounds to his left arm and hand.

Some left-leaning activists in South Korea have criticised the exercises, saying that they raise tensions with North Korea and hamper reconciliation efforts on the divided Korean Peninsula. North Korea has also condemned the exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, though both Washington and Seoul have said the drills are defensive in nature.

He sat at the head table and was exchanging name cards when a man approached the ambassador and toppled him and attacked him in the face with a knife.

South Korean reporter

Without the US military umbrella over the South, one of the Kims (grandfather, father and son have all ruled) would have invaded decades ago, as all were/are bat-shit crazy. Some South Koreans don’t see it that way apparently.

It just goes to show that even when you try to help an ally you don’t get full credit for it.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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