Dennis Rodman headed to North Korea for another visit

Lauren Perry
June 13, 2017

Rodman has received the red-carpet treatment on four past trips since 2013, which have accomplished little in terms of diplomacy and served mainly to create publicity for the former athlete.

When Rodman visited the North in February 2013 with the Harlem Globetrotters, an exhibition basketball team, Kim was said to have personally gifted him with a present that said, "For our friendship". However, his visits have been controversial given the regime's record of human-rights abuses that amount to "crimes against humanity", according to a 2014 United Nations.

Trump called Rodman "smart" for his 2013 trip to North Korea, Politico reported at the time.

It is not clear if the Rodman trip is part of that effort or not. The other is a businessman named Kim Dong Chul.

Last Thursday, North Korea launched what it described as newly developed land-to-ship cruise missiles able to accurately hit floating targets in the Sea of Japan.

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.

The NBA Hall of Famer said his trip to North Korea is to bring "peace and dialogue" between the country and the United States. "But he's very kindhearted and generous and means well".

"The regime's nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime's provocative actions, manifestly illegal under global law, have not abated despite United Nations' censure and sanctions", Mattis said.

U.S. tourism to North Korea is legal, but the U.S. State Department strongly advises against it.

Thankfully the Trump administration has made a decision to do the opposite of what many USA presidents simply would not-take on this rougest of rogue regimes head on.

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But it's possible that Trump is changing tactics.

The player known as "The Worm", is one of the few Westerners to have met Mr Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il.

Asked if he would talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about several Americans detained there, he said "that's not my goal right now".

"The regime's nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime's provocative actions, manifestly illegal under worldwide law, have not abated despite United Nations' censure and sanctions", U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a written statement to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Monday.

The bombastic player - who once wore a wedding dress to promote one of his books - also knows US President Donald Trump, having appeared as a contestant on Trump's pre-presidency reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice".

Rodman endorsed Trump for president in July of 2015, not long after his candidacy was announced in Trump's infamous "Mexicans are rapists" speech.

The news of the trip emerged Tuesday morning, when he was spotted by CNN at Beijing Airport, and was subsequently confirmed by North Korean authorities. South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in was also elected on promises of measured reengagement with the Kim regime.

Rodman said in a tweet ahead of his trip: "I'm back! They've been looking at ways to do that", Pinkston said.

Attributes that perhaps could be turned to help his countrymen in need.

Other reports by VgToday

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