Dennis Rodman says 'trying to open a door' in North Korea

Jonathan Hernandez
June 13, 2017

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea again, CNN reports, and may be meeting with his dictator friend Kim Jong Un.

"I am pretty much sure that he is happy with the fact that I am over here trying to accomplish something that we both need", Rodman said, when asked on Tuesday if he had spoken with Trump.

It's no secret that Dennis Rodman has a good relationship with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

It would be the fifth visit by Rodman since February 2013 when he first visited the North in what could be seen as "basketball diplomacy". Rodman later addressed Kim before a crowd of thousands, telling him, "You have a friend for life", a VICE spokesman said then.

Rodman, 56, nicknamed "The Worm" during his playing career and known for his tattoos, body piercings and multi-colored hair, is considered one of the best defensive players and rebounders in National Basketball Association history.

The purposes of Rodman's visits to North Korea have never been fully transparent.

A foreign ministry official who spoke to The Associated Press in Pyongyang confirmed that Rodman was expected to arrive Tuesday but could not provide details.

This time around, four Americans are being held in North Korea, including Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song, two academics who worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier; and businessman Kim Dong Chul.

Rodman has received the red-carpet treatment on each of his past visits but has been roundly criticised for doing so during a time of high tensions between the United States and North Korea over its weapons programs.

The U.S.is stepping up efforts to muster worldwide support for further pressure on North Korea over its provocative acts. The NBA #Hall Of Famer would be visiting Pyongyang at this tense moment between Washington and Pyongyang over the nuclear threat.

The flight carrying the 56-year-old left Beijing International Airport at 1 pm (0500 GMT) for Pyongyang, after the eccentric ex-Chicago Bulls power forward had caused a stir with a crowd of journalists pursuing him through the departures hall.

The player known as "The Worm", is one of the few Westerners to have met Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il.

A senior Trump administration official told Fox News Rodman was going to the North "as a private citizen".

North Korea believes its missile programme is the only way to deter Washington from trying to overthrow the Kim Jong-un regime.

Please let Dennis Rodman be Donald Trump's secret "back channel". But another was "strictly about the game and for the love of basketball".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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