On January 23, 1968, two days after North Korean armed agents mounted an assault on the South Korean presidential residence, North Korean naval vessels captured the U.S. Navy intelligence-gathering ship Pueblo and its crew in the Sea of Japan. In order to get the crew and the ship back, the United States agreed to hold direct talks with the DPRK in Panmunjom. The crew, but not the ship, was returned to the United States in December
1968 after the conclusion of the talks, which lasted 11 months. The Pueblo incident was a total victory for North Korea. By capturing the ship, North Korea succeeded in hampering U.S. intelligence activities, diverting U.S.–ROK attention away from Vietnam, and straining U.S.–ROK relations.