Skip to comments.US navy vessel remains prized trophy for North Korea, 37 years on (USS Pueblo)
Posted on 04/13/2005 7:33:14 PM PDT by Chi-townChief
PYONGYANG (AFP) - In North Korea's decades-long struggle with the United States, it is perhaps the Communist nation's favourite trophy.
The USS Pueblo, a 53.8 metre-long (176.5 foot-long) ship the North Koreans seized in 1968 in a move that almost brought the nations to war, remains docked in one of the most prominent positions of the Taedong River in Pyongyang.
Foreigners are brought to the Pueblo on government-controlled tour packages and media visits to recall the time North Korea, as a tourist pamphlet says, brought the "US imperialists ... to their knees".
"Although the government of the US submitted the surrender documents, the Pueblo couldn't return to its country, for it is a permanent trophy of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)," the pamphlet says.
According to the North Koreans, their patrol boats seized the Pueblo after the vessel had been caught spying in its territorial waters.
The incident occurred as tensions between the two nations were starting to heat up again amid the uneasy armistice that was brokered to end the 1950-53 Korean War.
One crew member was killed in the takeover of the Pueblo and the other 82 brought to Pyongyang for an 11-month saga that severely embarrassed and infuriated the United States.
The US version of events was that the Pueblo was an intelligence gathering vessel in international waters off the coast of North Korea when the North Koreans attacked it.
North Korea was adamant the vessel was an intruding spy ship and refused to release the crew until the US admitted its guilt.
During the standoff, the US built up its military forces around North Korea but the Stalinist nation refused to budge.
The crew members were filmed signing a letter of apology and confessing, although they later said they only did so because of pressure from the North Koreans.
The crew was finally released after almost a year when the US government reluctantly signed a letter admitting the Pueblo was a spy ship and had entered North Korean waters.
Thirty-seven years later, the North Korean government and military continue to bask in their "victory".
"The people of the world unanimously saw ... the might of the US was shattered again by the Korean people," the commentator in a DVD documentary that is shown to visitors in the Pueblo's mess hall says.
The vessel, which the US navy website says remains the property of the United States, has been kept in relatively good condition with the North Koreans striving to present it in all its glory.
Each artefact, from the decoding room to the vessel's plaque, provides enduring ammunition for the North Korean government in its efforts to boost the morale of the Korean People's Army (KPA).
"The veterans who captured the Pueblo and the new soldiers of the KPA say; 'Whoever makes a reckless attack upon our country will never return alive like the Pueblo!'," the tourist brochure says.
I was in Viet Nam in Dec 68 when the crew was finally set free.
Nixon took office Jan 20 1969 and never pursued the issue or get our ship back.
Lets not forget what happend in 1967 and who was Prez. And also made them think they could get away with this.
A new look at Israel's bombing of the USS Liberty
this story is very sad. such a blatant act of piracy. what was Johnson afraid of? they should have threatened to bomb pyongyang...
Buy a clue. W showed strength and resolve during the P-3 incident. lbj showed nothing but weakness during the Pueblo incident.
Send a SEAL team to get the ships bell and plaque. Then blow the thing to Kingdom come.
Bush is definitely more Buford Pusser than the last 3 Democrat pussies who inhabited the White House. Oh, I forgot. LBJ wasn't a pussy. He was just a dummy.
Ann Coulter has it right. Liberals should never be allowed near the Presidency.
After we go kick their rear ends, it'll be funny to bring the Pueblo home, and have some of the Seaman that were on deck man the vessel.
I remember Ronald Reagan saying then that we should go in there and tow it out.
Vietnam was pretty hot back in '68. We weren't in a good position to go after the NoKos at the time.
Oh did I reveal a flaw in your deity Bush? Go back to your day in the life threads kool-aid drinker.
No, you revealed a flaw in your thought process about leadership. Tell me, what did W do wrong in the way he got the P-3 and it's crew home? Who could have done the job better? algore? sKerry? Maybe you're one of them Nader fellers? Log Cabin Republican?
North Korea doesn't maintain anything but its army and its shrines to the latest Dear Leader. South Korea is much the same, except it builds new things. Maintenance is not an Asian strong point. Give America's lawyers their due there, no cracks in the sidewalks go unfixed long in the U.S.
We have no argument there, but 'more' does not mean 'the same as.'
"I suppose it could be argued," President Bush said to a friend, "that doing nothing is the next best thing to doing something." "Now," commented a small-town Idaho newspaper, "we can all sit back sans excitement--until China decides to down another of our planes."
Oh, wait, ROOSEVELT and the Idaho paper said something like that about JAPAN. And the JAPS apologized for sinking the Panay in JAP-held territory--intentionally--and then THEY paid reparations. WHEREAS the U.S. paid off the Chinese and apologized for China downing and stealing OUR plane--just as intentionally--in INTERNATIONAL waters.
No, there is no comparison between Bush and LBJ. But Buford Pusser would have stomped the shit out of China over that, and WE apologized and told them they could slice our plane up. That one blink has since set the tone in Asia--where the tigers all now look to China as their prime market and investor, and the military big dog in the region. And we sit and watch China build a navy to export its version of gunboat diplomacy.
We're in the appeasement stage. I just hope that what's left of the America I love survives the Taiwan Anschluss.