On January 23, 1968, a US armed spy ship Pueblo, which intruded into the territorial waters of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was captured by the Navy of the Korean People’s Army. The seizure of a US spy ship in a foreign country was the first-ever event since the founding of the United States.
No sooner had this happened than the US declared its “retaliation,” making threats to bomb a city or an airport of the DPRK unless the latter releases the ship and its crews. It deployed in the coastal waters of the DPRK a large fleet including three aircraft carriers and hundreds of fighters including B-52 strategic bomber capable of loading nuclear bombs. A hair-trigger situation was created on the Korean Peninsula.
Scared by angry temper and horrible menace of the imperialist superpower, the countries friendly to the DPRK hesitated to openly back it up. The leadership of the former Soviet Union went to the lengths of persuading the DPRK government to return the US ship and its crew without making much ado.
It seemed there would be no other option for the DPRK. At this juncture it made such a thunderous answer as “Return retaliation for ‘retaliation’ and all-out war for all-out war!”
The Korean army and the people made their determination to mercilessly wipe out aggressors in case they dare attack, making full preparations for combat.
\n the long run, it was not the DPRK but the US raised the white flag. The US withdrew its fleet unnoticed from the coastal waters of the DPRK only two weeks after its declaration of “retaliation.” It proposed to hold talks with Pyongyang. After 28 rounds of talks for eleven months it presented to the DPRK government a written apology, which acknowledged its espionage and hostile acts against the DPRK, solemnly made an apology for them and assured the prevention of recurrence of such acts. Consequently, the crew of Pueblo was released in the form of deportation from the DPRK territory and the KPA owned the ship as its war trophy.
The Pueblo incident in the world limelight came to an end this way.