US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert waves as he leaves a hospital in Seoul March 10, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL – A South Korean man who slashed the US ambassador in the face with a fruit knife was jailed for 12 years on Friday after being found guilty of attempted murder.

Kim Ki-jong, 55, who attacked Ambassador Mark Lippert in March at a forum discussing Korean reunification, was also found guilty of assault of a foreign envoy. He was acquitted of a third charge of violating the National Security Act.

Lippert suffered a deep gash to his face that required 80 stitches and injuries to his wrist, putting him in hospital for five days.

Kim has said the attack was a protest against joint military drills by US and South Korean troops.