Monday, 21 August, 2017

US Official Wishes Rodman Well in North Korea

Report: Pistons great Dennis Rodman headed to North Korea for another visit US Official Wishes Rodman Well in North Korea
Isaac Mcdaniel | 13 June, 2017, 11:44

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is slated to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday for his fifth visit amidst mounting tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, the media reported.

Mr Rodman, who revealed he was asked to coach North Korea's Olympic team, said the North Korea leader "trusts him" and lets him hold his baby daughter.

A senior USA official said the State Department was aware Rodman was planning to travel to North Korea, but stressed he is not there in any official capacity.

The last time Dennis Rodman visited North Korea, he delighted the country's young ruler with a rendition of "Happy Birthday", suffered an angry meltdown on CNN while defending his trip and spent time at a rehab facility after returning to the United States in rough shape.

It was supposedly a birthday gift for Kim who's said to be a big basketball fan. Rodman returns to North Korea at a time of great tension between Washington and Pyongyang, as four Americans are now being held in the Asian country. However, Fox News, citing a senior Trump administration official, reported that Rodman was traveling to North Korea as a "private citizen".

What that is exactly is unclear but at Beijing's airport on Monday and Tuesday, Rodman was wearing a black T-shirt with the logo of Potcoin - a digital currency for the cannabis industry, according to its website.

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During his last trip in January 2014, he led a team of former National Basketball Association players in a goodwill game with a North Korean selection for Kim's birthday, which falls on Jan. 8. Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is expected to arrive in Pyongyang on June 13, U.S. media reported, with the heavily-tattooed former player apparently set for another round of his controversial "basketball diplomacy".

Rodman was lambasted on previous trips for refusing to pursue the case of an American, Kenneth Bae, who was being held in North Korea at the time.

"But one thing we know is that Trump is transactional", said one person who works on North Korea, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions.

It would be Rodman's first visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein). Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman, center, prepares to go through immigration at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now". He's made several visits to the country, but has been roundly criticized for insensitive comments and for regaling Kim with "Happy Birthday" in 2014.

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