North Korea threatened to “pour further misery” on the U.S. on Monday, exactly 49 years after Pyongyang’s infamous capture of an American intelligence vessel, the USS Pueblo, in 1968, according to the North’s state-run outlets.
The seizure of the spy ship – still on display in the North – was a major Cold War incident, resulting in the death of a Pueblo crew member and months-long detention of 82 others.
Pyongyang claimed the vessel had entered North Korean waters, although the U.S. disputed the allegation.
The North regularly accuses Washington of aggressive behavior on the Korean Peninsula, with around 30,000 American troops plus hardware stationed currently in the South.
Despite comments suggesting the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, might be less committed to security in South Korea than his predecessors, Pyongyang marked Monday’s anniversary by sending out clear warnings via state-run media outlets.
“The U.S. will face a position more miserable than that in the Pueblo case if it forgets that lesson and frantically pursues new ways to provoke war against the North,” cautioned North Korea’s Central TV station.
Online propaganda mouthpiece Uriminzokkiri added the North “has the mighty military power to counter any kind of war that the U.S. chooses.”
The Workers’ Party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper also maintained the reclusive state’s stance on developing nuclear weapons in the face of global sanctions.
Leading analysts in both South Korea and the U.S. believe Pyongyang is ready to challenge the Trump administration with a provocation in the coming days – Seoul officials last week revealed North Korea appears to be preparing an intercontinental ballistic missile test.