Resolution calls on North Korea to return spy ship USS Pueblo

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 17, 2018 at 9:54 AM
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May 17 (UPI) -- As the White House prepares President Donald Trump for his meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, a movement is building in Congress to return a U.S. Navy spy ship.

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, of Colorado's Third District, sent a letter to Trump last week, ahead of submitting a resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, seeking the return of the USS Pueblo to the Navy, Voice of America reported.

In the resolution, Tipton said the ship did not violate the territorial waters of North Korea at the time of its capture on Jan. 23, 1968.

One crewmember, Duane Hodges, was killed during the attack and 82 others were held in North Korean captivity for 11 months.

In his letter to Trump, Tipton said he requests the president raise the issue of the Pueblo during his summit with the North Korean leader.

"The House of Representatives would welcome the return of the USS Pueblo as a sign of good faith from the North Korean people to the American people," the resolution read.

Last week, North Korea released the remaining three U.S. prisoners it has held since 2015-16, a gesture Trump praised publicly ahead of the June 12 summit.

But Pyongyang most recently took a step back from friendlier overtures and blamed White House national security adviser John Bolton for the recent setbacks.

Bolton defended U.S. policy Wednesday on Fox Radio.

"We're going to do everything we can to come to a successful meeting but we're not going to back away from the objective of that meeting, which is a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea," Bolton said.

North Korean diplomats posted overseas, who rarely agree to interview with South Korean reporters, are speaking up ahead of the summit.

South Korean news network MBN reported Thursday a diplomat at Pyongyang's embassy in Singapore said he is not happy with Bolton's statement on a "Libya model" of nuclear disarmament.

The diplomat also criticized joint military exercises, according to the report.

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