BY DOMENICK RAFTER
In the wake of an attack on the American ambassador to South Korea last month in Seoul, one Queens businessman is trying to prevent relations between the two countries from going sour over the incident.
“Koreans love America and we want Americans to know that,” Han Tai-kyuk, who also goes by his Americanized name, Ted Han, said. “ninety-nine percent of Koreans condemn his act of violence. We are friends and allies.”
On March 5, Mark Lippert, the United States Ambassador to South Korea, was attacked by a knife-wielding ex-con in Downtown Seoul. The man cut the ambassador’s face and left arm. His wounds required 80 stitches and Lippert will need extensive therapy to regain use of his left fingers.
The attacker, identified as Kim Ki-jong, told officers during his arrest that he attacked Lippert because he opposed U.S.-South Korean military exercises and said South Korea and North Korea should be reunified. Ki-jong, who considers himself a Korean nationalist, served a three-month prison term for attacking Japan’s ambassador in 2010.
In response to the attack, Han, who operates Bridge Enterprises, an advertising firm based in Flushing that, among other things, operate advertising space in bus shelters, took out ads across the city, including one on a bus shelter at Northern Boulevard and 149th Street.
The ad on Northern Boulevard, which is captioned in both Korean and English “we stand together as brothers and sisters,” features a photo of Lippert meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye just a few days after the attack.
South Korea and the United States have a long standing alliance going back to World War II, when the fall of the Japanese empire liberated Korea from decades of brutal Japanese occupation. Since the Korean War, in which the U.S. led a coalition against communist North Korea and its allies, the two countries have had a close economic and military alliance. More than 30,000 American troops remain in South Korea.