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Colorado representative renews call for return of USS Pueblo

The USS Pueblo has been held by the North Koreans since they attacked and captured the naval intelligence ship along with 82 sailors on Jan. 23, 1968.

COURTESY OF THE U.S. NAVY

By ZACH HILLSTROM | The Pueblo Chieftain | Published: July 11, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., announced on Wednesday a new resolution calling on the North Korean government to return the USS Pueblo back to the United States.

Tipton's office announced the resolution requesting the return of the naval intelligence ship on Wednesday, with the resolution stating the House of Representatives "desires the return of the USS Pueblo to the United State Navy", and "would welcome" its return as "a sign of good faith from the North Korean people to the American people."

The resolution also directs the clerk of the House of Representatives to transmit copies of the resolution to the president, secretary of defense and secretary of state.

"The USS Pueblo has been used as a propaganda tool by the North Koreans for over 50 years now, and it's well past time for the ship to be returned home," Tipton said in a prepared statement.

"The surviving crew lived through almost a year of captivity for the ship's wrongful seizure by the North Korean government, and it would be a great show of goodwill for the ship to be returned as our two nations continue discussing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Korean government in 1968 while sailing in international waters and one individual, Petty Officer Duane Hodges, was killed.

Following its capture, the remaining crew was held in captivity for 11 months.

Though the surviving crew was eventually released, the Pueblo has remained moored in the Pothong River.

It remains the only U.S. Navy commissioned vessel to be held in captivity.

Tipton introduced a similar resolution in May 2018, and stated: "The USS Pueblo continues to be unlawfully held captive and used as a tool for North Korean propaganda. The return of the USS Pueblo is an important topic that should be included during conversations and negotiations with the North Korean government."

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