US Ambassador to South Korea Defends Himself From Attack

A knife-wielding assailant shouted "South and North Korea should be reunified" before lunging at the ambassador.
2:06 | 03/05/15

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Transcript for US Ambassador to South Korea Defends Himself From Attack
attack as the ambassador recovers in a hospital this morning. ABC's terry Moran has all the latest. Good morning, terry. Reporter: Good morning, George. This was a truly frightening attack raising real questions about security for American diplomats around the world. An undefended ambassador. The assail apartment walking up to him armed with a ten-inch knife. A very close call. I'm bleeding here. I'm bleeding here. I need an plaambulance fast. Reporter: This is mark Lippert moments after being attacked by a Korean nationalist and this is the man named by police as Kim ki ju-jung shouting north and South Korea should be reunified slashing away with this knife before he was wrestled to the ground. Ambassador Lippert, a former Navy S.E.A.L. And Iraq war veteran defended himself. Lippert was rushed to a hospital where he was treated for deep cuts to his face, his arm and his hand. He's had 80 stitches. He's in stable condition and is expected to remain in the hospital for the next few days. Lippert is close to president Obama. Advising him during the 2008 campaign then moving to the white house to serve in the national security council staff before becoming ambassador to South Korea. Tensions between north and south Korea have spiked as the U.S. And South Korea conduct annual military exercises in north Korean media have issued dire threats in response. The attacker was still shouting against those joint exercises as he was led away by police strapped to a gurney. Ambassador Lippert kept his cool throughout the incident. Shortly after he was stitched up tweeting doing well and in great spirits. Though North Korea praised this assault as a knife attack of justice there's no evidence of any involvement there. The real question now, how did a guy with a knife like that get so close? Robin. People want the answer to that question as you know, terry, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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