Legacy of 1968: USS Pueblo still shadows North Korean relations


It’s clear that U.S. relations with North Korea (the Peoples Republic of Korea, or PRK) still suffer from institutional memories of the USS Pueblo incident. For both sides the Pueblo incident remains a sore point from 1968, a very trying year for the U.S. anyway.

PRK was scheduled to detail its nuclear activities in a report last Thursday when I started pondering this issue — part of the continuing negotiations to close down nuclear weapons production in PRK. PRK hoped to get off the U.S. list of “terrorist nations.

Al Jazeera featured this story, below, in September 2007. In addition to footage of the Pueblo, still illegally held by PRK, and used as tourist site and propaganda opportunity, the piece explores the effects of the incident on more recent events, the negotiations to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

And now we know the rest of the story. PRK delivered the report; Bush announced the nation would be taken off the list of supporters of terrorism.  (Report below from CBS News)

PRK destroyed the cooling towers to their offensive reactor.

And now we’re right back where we were in 1995. Eight years of Bush’s work pushed us backwards 13 years.  Partial compliance by PRK, but the bomb-building project is on hold.

Nuclear non-proliferation mades some strides this last week. Still I can’t help the feeling that January 21, 2009, cannot arrive quickly enough.

Remember the Pueblo veterans. The Pueblo Affair still dogs relations between the U.S. and the PRK, through no fault of the crew of the Pueblo who endured a year of brutal captivity, and then seem to have been forgotten by the nation they served so well.

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5 Responses to Legacy of 1968: USS Pueblo still shadows North Korean relations

  1. [...] “Legacy of 1968: USS Pueblo still shadows North Korea relations” (with recent video of the captured ship) [...]

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  2. [...] “Legacy of 1968:  USS Pueblo still shadows North Korea relations” (with recent video of the captured ship) [...]

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  3. [...] recently, Ed’s added a post on the continuing repercussions of that event, even reaching to last week’s negotiated [...]

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  4. Tony Whitson says:

    Brings back memories – I was one of the 50 high school students Secretary Rusk was scheduled to speak to in the conference room at the top of the State Department building when Rusk decided to use that as the occasion for the first public announcement of the capture. Before he spoke, we didn’t know why all the Capitol press was showing up for our little event. Later that day we were in the Senate chamber & the area just off the chamber with the teletypes bringing in the news.

    Anyway, the actual reason for my visit here today is to Congratulate Ed & share the news that he is now an officer of TEXAS CITIZENS FOR SCIENCE. Y’all have your work cut out for you this year!

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  5. Crudely Wrott says:

    Testifying to the fortitude of the current administration and all their bureaucratic minions, direct accounting for the present condition of warheads was dropped from US demands. Being so conveniently let off the hook, the North Koreans happily blew up a useless relic so that the video could be shown around the world, testifying to the commitment of the current celeberachy.

    I do not know whether or not NK possesses usable warheads, but I have just discovered that that information is not important to Bush & Co. To say that I am not surprised would be to belabor the obvious. To say that I shake my head in bewilderment would be to understate same.

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