Ex-basketball star Rodman expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday
Ex-basketball star Rodman expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday
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14 June, 2017, 07:12
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea Tuesday amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang and three days after the regime threatened to test an intercontinental ballistic missile powerful enough to reach the USA mainland at "any time" its leader Kim Jong-un wishes.
Rodman has said he is trying to "accomplish" something both he and President Trump need through this visit.
The eccentric ex-Chicago Bulls power forward made at least four visits to Pyongyang, most recently in 2014 when he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his "friend for life" North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
CNN, citing two unnamed North Korean officials, said Rodman was expected to arrive in Pyongyang today, but gave no additional details on the objective of the trip.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on Rodman's trip, but administration officials had told other media that the basketballer was traveling in a private capacity.
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 USA and North Korea over its weapons programs.
During a visit in 2014, the eccentric five-time National Basketball Association champion sang "Happy Birthday" to Kim Jong Un at a Pyongyang stadium and then walked forward and bowed to the hardline leader.
A North Korean foreign ministry official said Rodman would stay until Saturday.
In a previous trip, Rodman spent a significant amount of time with Kim and his wife, even holding their baby daughter. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry had not issued a formal statement. The network confirmed Rodman's ultimate destination with North Korean officials. "Thank you PotCoin.com for sponsoring my mission", Rodman tweeted Tuesday before taking a flight from Beijing to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Rodman was a cast member on two seasons of Trump's TV reality show "Celebrity Apprentice".
He was met by North Korean Vice Minister of Sports Son Kwang Ho. The company bills itself as a digital crypto-currency provider for the legal marijuana industry.
Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea with another offbeat sponsor.
"We at Potcoin are thrilled to be a part of this historical ground breaking trip about peace and love", Perez said, refraining from commenting on whether the North Korean authorities are aware that Rodman's trip was being funded by the group.
As details of his trip remained elusive, people wondered whether Rodman's visit in North Korea was a unique opportunity for America to negotiate peace in the region or even broker a deal to release four Americans now detained there.
The purposes of Rodman's visits to North Korea have never been fully transparent.
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It would be Rodman's first visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein). Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now".
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