Retired US basketball star Dennis Rodman has returned from a four-day trip to North Korea saying he was not concerned that he had not met leader Kim Jong-un and he would “see him again”.
It was Rodman’s third trip to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. Previously, he spent time dining as a guest of Mr Kim, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.
Yesterday at Beijing airport Rodman answered only a few of the questions thrown at him. Rodman said: “It was awesome, man,” he said of the training he conducted. Rodman intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball games on Mr Kim’s birthday. The former star’s latest visit follows the purge of Mr Kim’s powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek, who was executed this month.
South Korean president Park Geun-hye has described recent events as a “reign of terror”. The purging of Jang, considered the second most powerful man in the North, indicated factionalism within the government.
Ahead of the trip, Seoul-based North Korean human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk said in the Washington Post that Rodman should talk to Mr Kim about human rights abuses.