The Strategy In North Korea Moving American Soldiers' Bodies

Like many statements issued by North Korea, Monday's announcement that U.S. soldiers' bodies are being moved was likely meant to evoke a response.
Posted at 2:53 PM, Oct 13, 2014

In what many are interpreting as a strategic — if far below the belt — move, North Korea says it's moving the bodies of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

The country says it's moving the bodies because of construction projects and flood damage. It's estimated nearly 8,000 soldiers from the 1950-1953 conflict are missing in North Korea. (Video via Al Jazeera)

The statement released by state-run media KCNA cited an unnamed official in the North Korean army as saying the bodies now "look like no better than stones." Also, 

The statement simply said the bodies had been essentially neglected and removed "en masse." As with many communications coming out of the Hermit Kingdom, the statement Monday was pretty clearly aimed at evoking a response.

Since 1996, the U.S. and North Korea worked together on and off to recover Americans' bodies killed there, but that cooperation has been sporadic in the last decade as the U.S. pulled its personnel over security concerns. The concerns surround North Korea's nuclear weapons testing. (Video via U.S. ArmyABC)

As The New York Times points out, North Korea would love to restart recoveries. The operations meant millions of dollars for the cash-strapped country as the U.S. paid North Korea to provide workers.

All this comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hasn't been seen in public for weeks. KCNA's most recent headline featuring an activity by Kim is listed as published on August 31, and the leader was seen walking with a limp during a video released in July.

While North Korean leaders have acknowledged Kim is dealing with health issues, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday there's no definitive indication of a transfer of power.

This video includes an image from the U.S. Department of Defense.