South Korea’s president visited injured US Ambassador Mark Lippert on Monday amid an outpouring of public sympathy and support for the envoy, who is recovering from an attack by a knife-wielding man.
Lippert has been hospitalized since Thursday at Seoul’s Severance Hospital, where President Park Geun-hye also received treatment in 2006 when she was knifed by a man with a box cutter during an election rally. Park was then an opposition party leader.
Park’s office said the president went to the hospital shortly after she returned to South Korea on Monday from a Middle East tour.
Conservative activists and Christians have wished Lippert a quick recovery, held pro-US rallies and conducted dance performances near the US Embassy in Seoul. High-level government officials and politicians have visited him, and one well-wishing man even tried to offer dog meat to him.
Hospital officials said they expect to release Lippert on Tuesday.
The alleged attacker, known as an anti-US activist who was previously convicted of hurling a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul in 2010, was arrested Friday. Kim Ki-jong could face charges including attempted murder.
Police said the exact motive for Kim’s action was not known, but that he shouted after the attack that he opposes the ongoing US-South Korea military drills that North Korea condemns as a preparation for a northward invasion.