North Korea’s most famous museum exhibit, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo, has been painted and polished for display as part of Saturday’s “Victory Day” ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.
The Pueblo, captured off the coast of North Korea in 1968, “is expected to be unveiled this week as the centerpiece of a renovated war museum,” The Associated Press says.
The lightly armed Pueblo was on a mission to listen in on North Korean communications when it was intercepted and commandeered in the Sea of Japan. North Korea held the entire crew — more than 80 Americans — for nearly a year before they were forced to sign confessions of espionage and released.
As the AP reports:
“The ship is North Korea’s greatest Cold War prize. Its government hopes the Pueblo will serve as a potent symbol of how the country has stood up to the great power of the United States, once in an all-out ground war and now with its push to develop the nuclear weapons and sophisticated missiles it needs to threaten the U.S. mainland.
“Many of the crew who served on the vessel, then spent 11 months in captivity in North Korea, want to bring the Pueblo home. Throughout its history, they argue, the Navy’s motto has been ‘don’t give up the ship.’ The Pueblo, in fact, is still listed as a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel, the only one being held by a foreign nation.”