Dennis Rodman's On His Way Back To North Korea

Posted June 14, 2017

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman is reportedly set to touch down in North Korea on Tuesday in hopes of meeting with the country's quarrelsome president Kim Jong-un.

"Rodman is in the unusual position of being an acquaintance of both President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un", NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

This photo unveiled by North Korea's state news agency on March 1, 2013, shows NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman surrounded by reporters at an airport in Pyongyang.

The flamboyant Rodman, who has called Kim "an awesome kid", said in an interview with CNN in 2014, his travels to North Korea would help "open the door" to the isolated nation.

Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon told reporters in Tokyo that the U.S. has issued travel warnings to Americans suggesting they not travel to North Korea for their own safety.

Rodman has visited the country at least four times, with three of the visits taking place between 2013 and 2014. Most recently in 2014 he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his "friend for life", leader Kim Jong-Un.

One of Rodman's previous trips to North Korea was sponsored by an Irish betting company.

Rodman's expected visit to Pyongyang would be the first under Trump, a man with whom he has a personal relationship.

Four Americans are also now detained in North Korea.

The drone was found at a South Korean border town last Friday and South Korean investigators have since discovered hundreds of photos from its Sony-made in-built camera, a Defense Ministry official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules. "Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally".

He has previously described his visits - including one in 2013 with the Harlem Globetrotters - as "basketball diplomacy" but has been roundly criticised for failing to raise human rights issues or the plight of United States missionary Kenneth Bae, who was detained at the time.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now".

Supreme Leader Kim is a known basketball fan, which is what brought Rodman to North Korea for his first time. "My goal is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea".

He was heavily criticised in the U.S. for not bringing up the case of Kenneth Bae, an American imprisoned on charges of "hostile acts" who spent 735 days in North Korean custody before being released later in 2014.

"We are aware of his visit".

"I was trying to get this game going and get everything going in North Korea", Rodman told the AP then.

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.