N Korea says attack on US envoy in Seoul "just punishment'

N Korea says attack on US envoy in Seoul "just punishment'
US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert leaving after being slashed in the face by an unidentified assailant at a public forum in central Seoul on March 5, 2015.

SEOUL - North Korea on Thursday described the knife attack on US Ambassador Mark Lippert in Seoul as "just punishment" for the US decision to push ahead with joint military exercises with South Korea.

"Just punishment for US warmongers," the official KCNA news agency said in the headline to a brief despatch which called the attack a valid "expression of resistance."

KCNA said the assault on Lippert by a knife-wielding activist reflected South Korean public opinion "which is critical of the US for causing a crisis of war on the Korean peninsula with the dangerous joint military exercises."

The annual joint drills, which always raise tensions with North Korea, began on Monday and involved thousands of South Korean and US troops.

The man who attacked Lippert, Kim Ki-Jong, reportedly told police that opposition to the exercises was the main motive for his action.

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