Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea along with a team for a match marking leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday.
Dennis Rodman, 52, and the team of former NBA players flew from Beijing on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s match.
The sportsman said his aim was to “connect two countries”.
State Department officials have made it clear Dennis Rodman does not represent the US.
Dennis Rodman has also been strongly criticized for ignoring North Korea’s human rights abuses.
He last visited North Korea in December, shortly after the execution of Jang Sung-taek.
The fall of Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle was seen as a major shake-up at the very top of Pyongyang’s elite.
On that visit, Dennis Rodman’s third, he did not meet Kim Jong-un, who is reported to be a basketball fan. He has met the young leader on his other two previous visits, however, and is the highest-profile American to have done so.
This time, Dennis Rodman leads a squad of players on a trip he is describing as “basketball diplomacy”. The squad will play a North Korean team in an exhibition match.
Dennis Rodman’s unprecedented access to North Korea’s young leader has drawn questions over the impact of his visits to a country criticized for its repressive system of brutal political prison camps.
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