BASKETBALLL star Dennis Rodman ended his unexpected round of diplomacy in North Korea yesterday by describing leader Kim Jong Un as an “awesome guy”.
Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Mr Kim since he inherited power from his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, described his father and grandfather as “great leaders”.
During the visit, Rodman watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader and later enjoyed a drink and sushi with him.
At Pyongyang’s Sunan Airport on his way to Beijing yesterday, Rodman said it was “amazing” that the North Koreans were “so honest”. He added that Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder, “were great leaders”.
“He’s proud. His country likes him – not like him, love him, love him,” Rodman said of Kim Jong Un. “Guess what, I love him. The guy’s really awesome.”
Rodman’s visit to North Korea began on Monday and took place amid tension between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a “hostile” policy toward the North.
Rodman travelled to Pyongyang with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a HBO series.