Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls and NBA star who has struck up an unlikely friendship with the leader of North Korea, has returned to the U.S. from his second visit this year to Pyongyang to visit Kim Jong-un. Rodman arrived at the Beijing airport Saturday and coldly answered reporter’s questions about the trip, including several expletives.
Kim Jong-un and Rodman became friends after Rodman visited the country earlier this year when tensions were rising between the United States and North Korea. They have since eased, and Rodman thinks his friendship with Kim is a showing of the latter man’s hope for a good relationship with the U.S. in the future. Rodman previously called Kim’s welcoming attitude toward him, “an expression of good faith towards the Americans.”
It had been speculated that Rodman was going to the country for a second time in order to bargain for the release of American missionary Kenneth Bae, who was arrested in November for entering the ultra-private country with a tour group; Bae was subsequently sentenced to fifteen years hard labor in a North Korean prison camp.
In May, Rodman asked Kim on Twitter to “do me a solid” and release Bae; last week, top American official Robert King was scheduled to arrive in North Korea for a meeting with Kim concerning Bae’s release, but that invitation was revoked.
Upon arrival at the Beijing airport, Rodman quickly snapped at reporter’s queries about his visit, saying, “Guess what? That’s not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae. Ask Obama about that. Ask Hillary Clinton.” He then gave an expletive referring to the two American leaders.
The former basketball star also said of Kim, “He’s my friend for life. I don’t care what you guys think of him. I don’t give a s*** what people around the world think about him.” Kim and Rodman were said to have taken in dinner and basketball during Rodman’s latest visit, as well as Kim asking Rodman to return home with many good stories of Kim and his wish to “actually change things.” He also gave his new friend a bottle of his own brand of vodka, Bad Boy, and Kim “loved it.”
This most recent trip for Rodman was sponsored by Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker.
Image courtesy Steve Lipofsky at basketballphoto.com via Wikimedia Commons.