SEOUL – Kim Ki-jong, the man who stabbed the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, defended his action in court on Thursday, claiming it postponed for a day joint military exercises between U.S. and South Korean military forces.
“I’m not trying to brag, and I won’t call my action ‘worthwhile,’ but I prevented people from getting hurt by stopping the joint drills even for a day,” he said at a preliminary session for the trial.
Kim is charged with attempted murder, committing violence against a foreign envoy and obstruction of business activity, after his knife attack on the ambassador on March 5.
He asked the judges to take his “achievements” into consideration.
Kim, 55, claims he stabbed Ambassador Mark Lippert to stop the military drills held on South Korean territory in March and April each year.
The drills, he claims, prevent South Korea’s reunification with North Korea and deteriorate relations between them.
A spokesperson from Seoul’s Defense Ministry told Efe that the joint drills, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, have continued as planned and denied the attack on the envoy caused any interruption.
On March 5, Kim attacked Lippert with a kitchen knife and injured his face and left hand, during a breakfast at the Sejong Center, opposite the U.S. embassy in Seoul.
The 42-year-old diplomat required more than 80 stitches in five different parts of his body.
His face was most seriously injured with a cut 11 centimeters (4.3 inches) long and three centimeters (1.2 inches) deep.
He returned to work a few weeks later and has since recovered completely.
The aggressor, who now faces an eight-year jail term for attempted murder, previously spent two years in prison after throwing a piece of cement at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul.
Kim is known for his ultra-nationalist pro-North Korea activities, and for targeting Japan and the United States.
He visited North Korea seven times in 2006 and 2007.
Police believe his attempt in December 2011 to erect a monument for the late North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-il in Seoul did not have any connection to the Pyongyang regime.