PYONGYANG – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday unveiled a renovated Korean War museum with a U.S.-baiting centerpiece in the form of the spy ship USS Pueblo, captured in 1968.
Kim cut the red ribbon on the monumental Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum after inspecting an honor guard in front of war veterans and invited foreign guests.
Entering the museum’s main doors, the first sight greeting visitors is a 4-meter-tall colored statue of what looks remarkably like Kim but turns out to be a youthful representation of his grandfather and the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Much of the museum collection is a paean to Kim Il Sung’s strategic battlefield brilliance, credited with bettering the might of the U.S. military in the Korean War.
The 1950-53 conflict essentially ended with North and South Korea occupying the same territory they held at the start, but the 1953 armistice is celebrated in the North as “Victory Day.”
The Pueblo was attacked and seized by the North Korean Navy on Jan. 23, 1968. One sailor was killed in the assault and 82 were captured and held prisoner for 11 months before they were freed.
The ship is still listed as a commissioned U.S. naval vessel, and a U.S. Senate resolution in 2008 declared the Pueblo was the first U.S. Navy ship to be “”hijacked”” by a foreign military in more than 150 years.