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Dennis Rodman is returning to North Korea after three years.

The controversial basketball star said he is travelling as a private citizen.

Dennis Rodman told reporters at Beijing airport, en route to North Korea: “I’m just trying to open the door.”

The former NBA star made headlines after befriending North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on previous trips to Pyongyang in 2013 and 2014. Dennis Rodman has called Kim Jong-un his “friend for life”.

The US state department said it is aware of Dennis Rodman’s visit.

Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon said, according to Reuters: “We wish him well. But we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety.”

Dennis Rodman told reporters: “My purpose is to actually see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that’s the main thing.”

Image source Wikimedia

It is unclear whether the former NBA player will also bring up the detention of US citizens in the country.

The US and North Korean tensions have intensified under President Donald Trump.

However, President Trump has also said he would be “honored” to meet Kim Jong-un, in the right circumstances.

Speaking at the airport on June 13, Dennis Rodman said: “I am pretty much sure that he [President Trump] is happy with the fact that I am over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.”

When asked about the former Chicago Bulls star ‘s North Korea visits in 2013, Donald Trump told Fox News: “You look at the world, the world is blowing up around us. Maybe Dennis is a lot better than what we have.”

Dennis Rodman had been a contestant on Donald Trump’s reality TV show The Celebrity Apprentice that same year.

In 2014, Donald Trump flatly dismissed rumors that the pair might travel to North Korea together.

Dennis Rodman also once encouraged former President Barack Obama to “pick up the phone and call” Kim Jong-un, emphasizing that the two leaders both liked basketball.

His trips have been referred to as “basketball diplomacy” in the US press.

In 2014, Dennis Rodman told luxury lifestyle magazine DuJour he had approached the US government for support but was rejected.


He has previously broken down in tears during TV interviews, saying he has had death threats over his trips, which have been condemned by human rights activists.

Although at one point he did tweet Kim Jong-un to ask if he would “do me a solid and let Kenneth Bae loose” – referring to a US-Korean missionary who served two years in prison for trying to overthrow the government.

Kenneth Bae later thanked Dennis Rodman for raising public awareness of his case.

On June 13, Dennis Rodman tweeted that his latest trip was being sponsored by a company that provides digital currency for the marijuana industry. He wore fully branded clothes to the airport.

A previous trip to North Korea was sponsored by a betting company.

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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has checked into a rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism, his agent Darren Prince announced.

Darren Prince declined on Saturday to say which facility will treat Dennis Rodman and how long he will be there.

Dennis Rodman, 52, recently returned to the US from his latest trip to North Korea.

He later apologized for comments he made in North Korea about detained American missionary Kenneth Bae, saying he had been drinking and was under pressure as he organized an exhibition game there.

Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the start of the exhibition game.

Dennis Rodman has checked into a rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism

Dennis Rodman has checked into a rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism

“What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned,” Darren Prince said.

“Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination <<super human>> political figure and <<fixer>> got the better of him.

“He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused.”

Dennis Rodman won five NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls and was one of the NBA’s fiercest rebounders and most colorful personalities.

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Dennis Rodman apologized on Monday for not being able to help American citizen Kenneth Bae, a missionary detained in North Korea, during his trip there to play in a game to celebrate Kim Jong-un’s birthday.

”I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything,” Dennis Rodman told media on his arrival at Beijing airport from a weeklong trip.

”It’s not my fault. I’m sorry. I just want to do some good stuff, that’s all I want to do.”

The former NBA star said he would return to North Korea next month, but gave no details.

Dennis Rodman and the squad of retired NBA players he took to North Korea for an exhibition game marking Kim Jong-un’s birthday have met with criticism in the US because of North Korea’s human rights record and its development of nuclear weapons.

He was also slammed for not using his influence with Kim Jong-un to help free Kenneth Bae, who has been detained for more than a year for ”anti-state crimes.” Dennis Rodman apologized last week for comments he made in a CNN interview implying Kenneth Bae was at fault, saying he had been drinking and was upset because some of his teammates were leaving under pressure.

Dennis Rodman apologized for not being able to help Kenneth Bae during his trip to North Korea

Dennis Rodman apologized for not being able to help Kenneth Bae during his trip to North Korea

On Monday, Dennis Rodman reiterated that his trip to North Korea – in which he sang Happy Birthday to Kim Jong-un before playing the exhibition game at a Pyongyang stadium – was one of goodwill.

”This is not a bad deal,” he said.

”I want to show people that no matter what’s going on in the world, for one day, just one day, no politics, not all that stuff.

”I’m sorry for all the people and what’s going on, I’m sorry,” he continued.

”I’m not the president, I’m not an ambassador, I’m just an individual that wants to show the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day.”

Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un struck up a friendship when the basketball-player-turned-celebrity first traveled to North Korea last year.

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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has apologized for angry comments he made about US citizen Kenneth Bae, who is currently detained in North Korea.

In an interview with CNN, Dennis Rodman had appeared to point blame at Kenneth Bae, who has been jailed for 15 years by Pyongyang.

In a statement, Dennis Rodman apologized and said he had been drinking.

Dennis Rodman is in North Korea for a basketball match to mark the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The match was played on Wednesday and was attended by Kim Jong-un, to whom Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday.

Dennis Rodman is the most high-profile American to meet the North Korean leader, who he describes as a friend.

In his statement, Dennis Rodman said he took full responsibility for his actions.

Dennis Rodman has apologized for angry comments he made about Kenneth Bae

Dennis Rodman has apologized for angry comments he made about Kenneth Bae

“It had been a very stressful day. Some of my team-mates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates,” the basketball player wrote.

“My dreams of basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the truth.”

His controversial comments came as he made his fourth visit to North Korea.

Dennis Rodman had been asked several times in the past whether he could use his relationship with Kim Jong-un to discuss Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in May 2013.

North Korea said that Kenneth Bae – described as both a tour operator and Christian missionary – had used his tourism business to plot sedition.

In the interview with CNN, Dennis Rodman lost his cool, appearing to suggest Kenneth Bae was at fault.

“If you understand what Kenneth Bae did… Do you understand what he did in this country? … I would love to speak on this,” he said.

Kenneth Bae’s sister described Dennis Rodman’s comments as appalling and said she was concerned they would hurt efforts to free her brother.

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Dennis Rodman has sung Happy Birthday to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in front of a crowd of thousands in Pyongyang.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong-un, who was in the audience with his wife and other senior officials, was his “best friend”.

Dennis Rodman is on his fourth North Korean visit to mark Kim Jon-un’s birthday with a basketball match.

Dennis Rodman has sung Happy Birthday to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in front of a crowd of thousands in Pyongyang

Dennis Rodman has sung Happy Birthday to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in front of a crowd of thousands in Pyongyang

He has angrily defended his visit after criticism from rights groups. The US said Dennis Rodman does not represent the country.

The crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped and waved as Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday on Wednesday, the Associated Press news agency says.

Dennis Rodman is with a team of former National Basketball Association (NBA) players who played an exhibition match. He said the match was to celebrate Kim Jong-un’s birthday, although the leader’s official birthday and age have not been confirmed.

Dennis Rodman has said that he was on a “basketball diplomacy” mission in North Korea. He remains the highest-profile American to have met Kim Jong-un.

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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has angrily defended his visit to North Korea, ahead of a basketball game to mark Kim Jong-un’s birthday.

In an interview with CNN, Dennis Rodman was asked if he would raise the issue of a US citizen jailed in North Korea.

Dennis Rodman responded with a rant that at one point appeared to point blame at the man, Kenneth Bae.

His visit has been criticized by rights groups, with Washington making it clear he does not represent the US.

His team of former NBA players will take on a North Korean team in an exhibition match later on Wednesday in Pyongyang.

Dennis Rodman says the match is to celebrate Kim Jong-un’s birthday, although his official birthday and age have not been confirmed.

It comes weeks after the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Sung-taek, once seen as a major power in North Korea. His rapid and brutal purge has sparked concern over stability inside the country.

Dennis Rodman has angrily defended his visit to North Korea, ahead of a basketball game to mark Kim Jong-un's birthday

Dennis Rodman has angrily defended his visit to North Korea, ahead of a basketball game to mark Kim Jong-un’s birthday

Meanwhile, state news agency KCNA has announced that elections for North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament will be held on March 9 – something which could provide a hint of who the key players are in the wake of Jang Sung-taek’s execution.

This visit is Dennis Rodman’s fourth to North Korea. He has in the past described Kim Jong-un as a friend and says he is on a “basketball diplomacy” mission. He remains the highest-profile American to have met the young leader.

Dennis Rodman had been asked several times in the past whether he could use his relationship with Kim Jong-un to discuss Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in May 2013.

North Korea said that Kenneth Bae – described as both a tour operator and Christian missionary – had used his tourism business to plot sedition.

Asked again in the CNN interview, Dennis Rodman appeared to lose his cool, saying: “If you understand what Kenneth Bae did … Do you understand what he did in this country? … I would love to speak on this.”

Dennis Rodman’s visit was about opening “the door a little bit”, he said, even though the team would have “to go back to America and take the abuse”.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on Dennis Rodman’s remarks, but reiterated a call for North Korea to release Kenneth Bae – who is suffering from ill health – on humanitarian grounds.

Former NBA star Charles D. Smith, meanwhile, told the Associated Press news agency that he felt “remorse” for participating in the trip amid the backlash in the US.

“I feel a lot of remorse for the guys because we are doing something positive, but it’s a lot bigger than us. We are not naive, we understand why things are being portrayed the way they are.”

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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.

Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea along with a team for a match marking leader Kim Jong-un's birthday

Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea along with a team for a match marking leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday

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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Dennis Rodman has unveiled the team of former NBA players to play an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, North Korea, this month.

Dennis Rodman will lead the team that includes former NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Vin Baker. Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean senior national team on Wednesday, January 8th, marking Kim Jong-un’s birthday.

The former NBA star is the highest profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since the leader inherited power from his father in late 2011.

Dennis Rodman calls the game his version of ”basketball diplomacy.”

”My previous travels have allowed me to feel the enthusiasm and warmth of fans,” he said.

”The positive memories and smiles on the faces of the children and families are a testament to the great efforts we have put into fulfilling our mission wherever we go voiding any politics. We are all looking forward to arriving in Pyongyang, meeting the citizens, visiting various charities and using the opportunity to develop new relationships that result in our annual return.”

Dennis Rodman made his latest visit to North Korea shortly before Christmas to train the North Korean basketball team, though he did not meet with Kim Jong-un.

Dennis Rodman has unveiled the team of former NBA players to play an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang

Dennis Rodman has unveiled the team of former NBA players to play an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang

He said his trips would not be affected by the recent execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle.

Charles D. Smith, who played for the New York Knicks, said he was looking forward to the game with Dennis Rodman.

”Dennis and I are total opposites, but we work very well together,” he said.

”Dennis is one of the few people I know that doesn’t just talk but actually lives a culturally diverse life. We have traveled everywhere together, so I was not surprised with his first visit to North Korea.

”Cultural exchange is about sharing. Sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life.”

Irish betting company Paddy Power PLC, a driving force behind the exhibition, removed its name last month as the title sponsor. The company is still financing the trip and is honoring all contractual commitments.

Dennis Rodman has been criticized for not talking about North Korea’s human rights record, described as one of the world’s worst by activists, the US State Department and North Korean defectors.

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Dennis Rodman revealed he didn’t meet Kim Jong-un on his latest visit to North Korea, but he said that won’t stop him from coming back on the communist leader’s birthday next month to hold an exhibition game with other former NBA stars.

On the night before he was due to leave Pyongyang, Dennis Rodman told The Associated Press that he had not yet had a meeting with Kim Jong-un. The former NBA star said that he didn’t expect to meet the leader every time he comes to North Korea, and that his current trip was for training North Korean basketball players who will take part in the match he is organizing for Kim Jong-un’s birthday on January 8th.

“I’m not just coming over here to meet the leader,” Dennis Rodman said.

Dennis Rodman revealed he didn’t meet Kim Jong-un on his latest visit to North Korea

Dennis Rodman revealed he didn’t meet Kim Jong-un on his latest visit to North Korea

“I came over here to meet the basketball team, to prepare a great game for the leader for his birthday. And people need to understand that it’s not important for me to meet him every time I come over because he has another greater job to do for his country, and I respect that, but this trip was basically to come over to train the team, so we can have a great, great, game.”

Dennis Rodman’s visit comes just after the dramatic purge and execution of Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle, which has sparked speculation among some foreign analysts over how stable Kim’s regime is. But officials here say that there is no instability and that Kim Jong-un remains firmly in control.

The former basketball player wants to bring 12 former NBA stars to Pyongyang for the exhibition, but has acknowledged that some of the Americans have been reluctant to come. He has held tryouts for the North Korean team during his visit, which began Thursday. He has said he expects to announce the US roster soon, and that he is planning another game in June.

Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un have struck up an unlikely friendship since the former NBA star traveled to North Korea for the first time in February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.

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Dennis Rodman held tryouts Friday for a North Korean team to face a dozen NBA veterans in an exhibition game on leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday on January 8th, 2014.

However, the former NBA star hasn’t convinced all the players on the American team that it’s safe to come to Pyongyang.

Dennis Rodman said plans for the January 8th game are moving ahead but some of the 12 Americans he wants are afraid to come.

Some foreign analysts say the dramatic purge and execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle less than a week ago has cast doubt on Kim’s future. But officials here say there is no instability and Kim Jong-un remains firmly in control.

“You know, they’re still afraid to come here, but I’m just telling them, you know, don’t be afraid man, it’s all love, it’s all love here,” Dennis Rodman told The Associated Press after the tryouts at the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium.

“I understand what’s going on with the political stuff, and I say, I don’t go into that venture, I’m just doing one thing for these kids here, and for this country, and for my country, and for the world pretty much.”

Dennis Rodman, who arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday, said he expects to announce the roster soon. He also said he is planning another game in June.

Dennis Rodman held tryouts for North Korean team to face NBA veterans in an exhibition game on Kim Jong-un's birthday

Dennis Rodman held tryouts for North Korean team to face NBA veterans in an exhibition game on Kim Jong-un’s birthday

He watched as a couple dozen local players took to the basketball court for the tryouts. After the session, he told the players that each of the 12 he chooses will get two new pairs of tennis shoes.

When asked why he liked basketball, North Korean player Kim Un-chol told Dennis Rodman he started playing the game because he was impressed by it on TV, and said he also wants to be good at the sport because it is a favorite of leader Kim Jong-un and his late father, Kim Jong-il.

Dennis Rodman asked all the players if they felt the same way. They nodded in unison.

“I want you guys to do one thing for your leader,” Dennis Rodman then told them.

“It’s his birthday. It’s a very special, special day for the country.”

Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un have struck up an unlikely friendship since he traveled to North Korea for the first time in February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.

The former NBA player remains the highest-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since the leader inherited power from his father in 2011.

Dennis Rodman has mostly avoided politics in his dealings with North Korea and has avoided commenting on the North’s human rights record or its continued detainment of American Kenneth Bae for allegedly committing anti-state crimes.

On Friday, he stressed that he hopes the game will be friendly, without political or nationalistic overtones.

Dennis Rodman said the former NBA players will take on the North Koreans in the first half, but the teams will be mixed for the second half.

“It’s not about win or loss. It’s about one thing – unite two countries,” he said.

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Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea for a five-day visit, where he will train the national basketball team.

The former basketball player has previously described his visits as “basketball diplomacy”, and called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un his “friend for life”.

The US State Department has stressed that Dennis Rodman is not representing the US government on this trip.

The visit comes weeks after Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Sung-taek was executed.

Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea for a five-day visit

Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea for a five-day visit

Speaking to reporters in Beijing before heading to North Korea, Dennis Rodman said politics had “nothing to do with [him]”.

“I’m just going over there to do a basketball game and have some fun,” he told Reuters news agency.

Organizers of the trip say that Dennis Rodman will also arrange a friendship basketball match between North Korea and a group of former NBA players on January 8, to mark Kim Jong-un’s birthday.

Dennis Rodman remains the most high-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since the leader took over after his father died in 2011.

He said that he spent time with Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju during his last visit in September, and said Kim had a baby daughter called Ju-ae.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Tuesday: “Dennis Rodman is not a representative of the US government in his trip to North Korea.”

“We need to focus on what’s really important here when it comes to North Korea… the brutality of the North Korean regime he’s going to meet.”

American citizen Kenneth Bae (known in North Korea as Pae Jun-ho) is detained in North Korea after being arrested in November 2012. He was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in May.

Dennis Rodman previously rejected calls to lobby for Kenneth Bae’s release.

“That’s not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae,” Dennis Rodman told reporters after his September visit.

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Dennis Rodman plans to visit North Korea for an exhibition basketball tour late next month.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dennis Rodman said he’ll be accompanied on the trip by a dozen or so former NBA players. But he refused to name names.

“I have seven people right now,” he said.

“I talked to a couple of guys last week. Lot of guys are saying, <<OK, great. I’ll go. We’ll go>>. But I’m not saying this to get people to go over there to prove a point — <<OK, great, let’s go over there and make a difference.>>”

Back in the news as a self-appointed ambassador and friend of Kim Jong-un, Dennis Rodman returned Thursday to where he won the last three of his five NBA championships playing alongside Michael Jordan. On a promotional tour to pitch a vodka brand, Dennis Rodman held court downtown amid camera flashes.

Dennis Rodman, 52, said he wouldn’t talk about his relationship with Kim Jong-un or North Korean politics, including its widely condemned human-rights record and secretive nuclear weapons program. Though he eventually touched on those subjects, Dennis Rodman glossed over several related questions and largely ignored a challenge to his answer about whether North Korea was holding US citizens as hostages, including 85-year-old Korean War veteran Merrill Newman.

Dennis Rodman plans to visit North Korea for an exhibition basketball tour late next month

Dennis Rodman plans to visit North Korea for an exhibition basketball tour late next month

The Swedish Embassy is negotiating on behalf of Newman because the US has no diplomatic ties to North Korea. Dennis Rodman’s friendship with Kim Jong-un has afforded him the kind of access denied statesmen from the West and even President Barack Obama.

Dennis Rodman came under criticism for being “naive” during a previous visit to North Korea, where he was photographed often with Kim Jong-un, and some members of the diplomatic community fear his antics could further aggravate already-sensitive negotiations.

He said his reasons for returning to North Korea were much more personal and beyond that, Kim Jong-un’s motives were not his concern.

“Like I told you, this is not all about trying to create this major buzz,” Dennis Rodman said.

“Because I don’t want my friend to sit there and say I been doing this all along to slip in some information on him. I don’t want that. That’s why I’m not doing that. We’re friends and that’s it.

“This ain’t about me trying to be a politician and try to get some scoop on him and stuff like that. … He’s my friend first. Other than that, I don’t give a damn what … he does.”

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a baby daughter called Ju-ae, Dennis Rodman says.

Dennis Rodman, who was in North Korea last week on a “basketball diplomacy tour”, made the comments in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.

He said that he spent time with Kim Jong-un’s family by the sea, and described him as “a good dad”.

Kim Jong-un leads one of the most secretive countries in the world, with relatively little known about his personal life.

“The Marshal Kim and I had a relaxing time by the sea with his family,” Dennis Rodman said.

Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju have a baby daughter called Ju-ae

Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju have a baby daughter called Ju-ae

“I held their baby Ju-ae and spoke with [Kim Jong-un’s wife] as well. He’s a good dad and has a beautiful family,” he said.

Last year, photos of Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un’s wife, prompted speculation that she was pregnant, although there was no official confirmation.

North Korea only confirmed Ri Sol-ju was Kim Jong-un’s wife in July 2012, a month after she was first seen in public with him.

Dennis Rodman, who has visited North Korea twice this year, remains the most high-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since the leader took over after his father died in 2011.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing on Saturday, after his return from North Korea, Dennis Rodman angrily rejected calls to lobby for the release of American citizen Kenneth Bae detained in North Korea.

“That’s not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae,” he said.

Kenneth Bae (known in North Korea as Pae Jun-ho) was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in May.

Last month, North Korea revoked an invitation for Robert King, the US special envoy for North Korean rights, to visit Pyongyang to discuss the case.

Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea for the second time this year to meet leader Kim Jong-un.

The retired basketball player said meeting “my friend Kim”, who is a basketball fan, was part of his “basketball diplomacy tour”.

Dennis Rodman told reporters he would not be discussing the case of jailed Korean-American Kenneth Bae with Kim Jong-un.

Last week, North Korea revoked a trip by a US envoy seeking Kenneth Bae’s release.

Dennis Rodman, a former NBA star, spent time with Kim Jong-un in March while filming a documentary with a US media company.

He visited with members of the Harlem Globetrotters team, who played a game with members of North Korea’s “Dream Team”.

Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea for the second time this year to meet leader Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea for the second time this year to meet leader Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman remains the most high-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since the leader took over after his father died in 2011.

On his way from Beijing, China, to Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday, Dennis Rodman told reporters: “I just want to meet my friend Kim, the marshal, and start a basketball league over there.”

“I have not been promised anything. I am just going there as a friendly gesture.”

Asked if he was going to discuss the jailed American, Dennis Rodman said: “I’m not going to talk about that.”

Last week, North Korea revoked an invitation for Robert King, the US special envoy for North Korean rights, to visit Pyongyang.

Robert King was expected to appeal for the release of Kenneth Bae, 45, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in May, on humanitarian grounds.

North Korea said Kenneth Bae, described as both a Christian missionary and tour operator, used his tourism business to plot sedition.

Kenneth Bae (known in North Korea as Pae Jun-ho) was arrested in November 2012 as he entered the north-eastern port city of Rason, a special economic zone near North Korea’s border with China.

His trial and conviction came at a time of high tension between the US and North Korea, in the wake of the communist state’s third nuclear test.

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Dennis Rodman has decided to cancel his whirlwind tour of post-North Korea television appearances, causing curiosity and relief among political commentators and media observers.

The cancellations follow his bizarre and inflammatory interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, in which Dennis Rodman called Kim Jung-un a “friend for life” and assured his host that the dictator just wants President Barack Obama to call him.

“He’s very humble,” Dennis Rodman told George Stephanopoulos during his appearance on ABC’s This Week.

“He’s a great guy, he’s a great guy.”

During an interview with the Associated Press after returning to the US Dennis Rodman said: “I love him.”

Dennis Rodman was getting ready to make appearances on ESPN’s Outside the Lines with Bob Ley and CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, but aborted both scheduled interviews with little advance notice and little explanation.

“Rodman was supposed to be interviewed this a.m. by @BobLeyESPN for OTL after his interview w/ @GStephanopoulos but skipped out on @espn,” sports James Andrew Miller tweeted on Sunday at 3:11 pm.

CNN’s John Berman told viewers late Monday morning that Dennis Rodman “decided to cancel” his interview on The Situation Room, as TVNewser reported.

John Berman instead hosted former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend and journalist John Avlon, who chastised the retired basketball player for his praise of Kim Jong-un.

Following the news of Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea, including speculation as to whether he now has more first-hand knowledge of North Korea’s leader than the CIA, White House spokesman Jay Carney told White House reporters that the U.S. government disapproved of the flashy attempt at diplomacy.

“The United States has direct channels of communication with the DPRK and instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people, who have been starved, imprisoned and denied their human rights,” Jay Carney said Monday.

Dennis Rodman has decided to cancel his whirlwind tour of post-North Korea television appearances, causing curiosity and relief among political commentators and media observers

Dennis Rodman has decided to cancel his whirlwind tour of post-North Korea television appearances, causing curiosity and relief among political commentators and media observers

Since returning from North Korea, Dennis Rodman has been silent on Twitter, despite a promise on Friday to tell his followers “what is true and not true of what you have heard and read”.

Dennis Rodman tweeted several times while he was visiting North Korea with three members of the Harlem Globe Trotters and Vice Media’s film crew to work on an upcoming HBO series that will debut on April 5.

“It’s true, I’m in North Korea.Looking forward to sitting down with Kim Jung Un. I love the people of North Korea. #WORMinNorthKorea,” he tweeted just after 8 am EST on February 26, before meeting with Kim Jung-un.

“I’m not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story. #WORMinNorthKorea,” Dennis Rodman tweeted after few minutes.

During his interview with George Stephanopoulos, Dennis Rodman said he may take another trip to North Korea in the future.

“The next time you go back you should take this report from Human Rights Watch and ask him about that,” the ABC host replied.

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Former basketball star Dennis Rodman, who recently visited North Korea, says Kim Jong-un doesn’t want war with the United States.

Kim Jong-un just wants President Barack Obama to call him.

Dennis Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since he took power in North Korea in December 2011, says Barack Obama and Kim share a love of basketball, so “let’s start there”.

The former NBA star is just back from a visit to North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and camera crews for the upcoming HBO series VICE, during which he spent two days with Kim Jong-un.

In his first interview about the trip, Dennis Rodman spoke on ABC’s This Week.

“He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Dennis Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“He said, <<If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war>>. He said that to me.”

The trip took place amid strained ties between the U.S. and North Korea over the North’s recent underground nuclear test.

Kim Jong-un is regarded as one of the world’s most oppressive leaders in a nation that builds prison camps and lets millions of its citizens starve to death.

In stark contrast to the poverty of his citizens, Kim Jong-un welcomed the group with a feast, ice skating, and an aquarium visit.

Dennis Rodman, who recently visited North Korea, says Kim Jong-un doesn't want war with the United States

Dennis Rodman, who recently visited North Korea, says Kim Jong-un doesn’t want war with the United States

Upon returning, Dennis Rodman shocked many by praising Kim Jong-un.

“I love him,” he said.

“He’s awesome.”

Dennis Rodman stood by the controversial statement during his ABC interview.

“No, I’m not apologiz[ing] for him,” Dennis Rodman said.

“You know, he’s a good guy to me. Guess what? He’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does… [but] as a person to person – he’s my friend.”

Dennis Rodman is the first widely-known American to meet with Kim Jong-un since he became head of North Korea, succeeding his Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.

Kim Jong-un has followed in his father’s footsteps, defying U.N. sanctions by pursing a nuclear arms and missiles program he says is aimed at the U.S.

He also shared a love of basketball with his father, and is particularly fond of the 1990s Chicago Bulls championship teams, which included Dennis Rodman.

On his trip the two watched an exhibition game between the Globetrotters and North Korean players, with Dennis Rodman telling Kim Jong-un before the crowd: “You have a friend for life.”

“I’m not a politician,” Dennis Rodman wrote on Twitter.

“Kim Jung-un & North Korean people are basketball fans. Love everyone. Period. End of story.”

The U.S. State Department has distanced itself from the visit and will not debrief Dennis Rodman on the meeting.

The decision not to talk to Dennis Rodman has been characterized as “ridiculous” by some intelligence experts.

“There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong-un than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary,” said Steve Ganyard, a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Dennis Rodman expects to return to North Korea.

“I’m not like a diplomat,” he said.

“I’m [going to] go back, do one thing and find out more, what’s going on. Find out more.”

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Pictures of Kim Jong-un meeting retired basketball player Dennis Rodman have been released in North Korea.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who is known to be a basketball fan, was seen attending a game with Dennis Rodman, who is in the country filming a documentary with a US media company.

The game involved the three members of the Harlem Globetrotters, who had joined Dennis Rodman on the tour, and members of North Korea’s “Dream Team”.

Dennis Rodman told Kim Jong-un he had “a friend for life”, the Associated Press reports.

Dennis Rodman and the Globetrotters arrived in North Korea earlier this week, accompanied by the Vice television company which said they hoped to engage in some “basketball diplomacy”.

Vice correspondent Ryan Duffy told AP the crowd at the Pyongyang game was “really engaged, laughed at all of the Globetrotters antics, and actually got super loud toward the end as the score got close”.

“Most fun I’ve had in a while,” said Ryan Duffy, who was one of the players.

The game ended in a 110-110 tie.

Kim Jong-un was seen wearing his trademark blue Mao suit, while Dennis Rodman – known for his flamboyant appearance and occasional cross-dressing – wore a dark suit and glasses, but with many of his facial piercings in place.

“They bonded during the game,” Vice’s founder, Shane Smith, told AP.

“They were both enjoying the crazy shots, and the Harlem Globetrotters were putting on quite a show.”

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who is known to be a basketball fan, was seen attending a game with Dennis Rodman, who is in the country filming a documentary with a US media company

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who is known to be a basketball fan, was seen attending a game with Dennis Rodman, who is in the country filming a documentary with a US media company

In a speech at the gymnasium, Dennis Rodman told Kim Jong-un he had “a friend for life”.

The meeting was also reported in North Korea’s KCNA state media, which said Kim Jong-un had “warmly welcomed” Dennis Rodman and “let him sit next to him,”.

KCNA said the US and North Koreans had exchanged match tactics and techniques.

The players later joined Kim Jong-un and his wife at a banquet which Ryan Duffy described as an “epic feast”.

The meeting makes Dennis Rodman the most high-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un since he took over from his father last year. The US said it had no comment to make on the meeting.

Dennis Rodman’s visit comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and North Korea over the test and Pyongyang’s launch of a three-stage rocket, a move condemned by the UN as a banned test of missile technology.

Both were seen as a breach of UN resolutions and condemned as a threat to stability in the region.

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