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US court orders N. Korea to pay $2.3 bn over kidnapping of USS Pueblo

US court orders N. Korea to pay $2.3 bn over kidnapping of USS Pueblo

Posted February. 27, 2021 07:31,   

Updated February. 27, 2021 07:31


The U.S. federal district court for Washington, D.C. ruled that North Korea should pay 2.3 billion dollars to around 170 crew and family of USS Pueblo, the U.S. Navy’s spy ship, which was captured by the North in 1968. It is the largest amount of compensation ordered against the country. Before the recent ruling, the case of an American college student named Otto Frederick Warmbier who was imprisoned in North Korea and died soon after his release in 2017 had the highest records of 51.13 million dollars.

According to Voice of America, the court granted a total of 776.03 million dollars for 49 crew members – 13.1 million to 23.8 million dollars for each – 200.25 million dollars for 90 living family members, and 179.21 million dollars for 31 deceased family members. However, it is very unlikely that North Korea will accept the ruling and pay compensations.

USS Pueblo was kidnapped by the North Korean Navy’s patrol boat during a mission in the East Sea in January 1968. The North released 82 crew members and a body after the U.S. signed a letter of apology for invading the country’s territorial waters in December of the same year. The crew members reported having experienced torture and harsh treatment after returning home and filed a lawsuit against the North in 2018.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com