Former professional basketball star Dennis Rodman is expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday, CNN has reported, amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile program and its jailing of four USA nationals.
When asked if he had spoken to Trump at all, Rodman said, "I'm pretty sure he's happy at the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need". Rodman has traveled to North Korea before, though he has been criticized for comments he made on previous trips.
A FORMER NBA star has struck up an unexpected friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. A senior US official said the State Department was aware Rodman was scheduled to travel to the North, but stressed he would not be there in any official capacity, according to CNN.
Former U.S. basketball star Rodman was spotted at Beijing International Airport, with his trip to North Korea coming at a time when North Korea is detaining four Americans, according to CNN.
The 2014 trip also saw the sportsman lead a team of retired American players in a basketball game to celebrate Kim's birthday.
Rodman was filmed leading a sing-along of "Happy Birthday" to the North Korean leader, a man he calls a friend and a "very good guy", but is widely seen as a brutal dictator who once lauded the execution of his own uncle.
Four Americans are now being detained in North Korea. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry had not issued a formal statement. He is on his way back to North Korea, multiple outlets are confirming.
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Supreme Leader Kim is a known basketball fan, which is what brought Rodman to North Korea for his first time.
A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.
The delegation was later revealed to have brought a selection of gifts into North Korea which may have contravened global sanctions against the DPRK. A North Korean diplomat at the United Nations disputed this, saying that Rodman had not been invited by the foreign ministry but by a sports-related agency.
Rodman appeared on "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2013, when Trump's children Eric and Ivanka were also judges on the show. Trump fired Rodman in both seasons.
Rodman's trip to North Korea is at least his fifth. 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".
"We at Potcoin are thrilled to be a part of this historical ground breaking trip about peace and love", Perez said, refraining from commenting on whether the North Korean authorities are aware that Rodman's trip was being funded by the group.
Rodman routinely distances himself from political events in North Korea.