Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea

Kim Jong Nam had $120000 in cash on him at time of slaying Kim Jong-nam carried $120000 in cash when assassinated – report
Erik Tate | 14 June, 2017, 07:12

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea, insisting he is "just trying to open a door" with the reclusive state.

"Rodman is in the unusual position of being an acquaintance of both President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un", NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea this week is being sponsored by the "PotCoin" digital currency, the ex-NBA star announced in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon prior to leaving for Pyongyang.

Rodman has made at least four visits to Pyongyang, most recently in 2014 when he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his "friend for life", leader Kim Jong-Un.

A United States official said the State Department was aware Rodman was planning on traveling to North Korea, but that he is not there on behalf of the country, according to CNN.

Rodman's next visit after that, in January 2014, included the surreal sight of him singing "Happy Birthday" to Kim at a basketball game and a weird interview on CNN.

Rodman's expected visit to Pyongyang would be the first under Trump, a man with whom he has a personal relationship.

The controversy surrounding Rodman's past trips to North Korea eventually became too hot to handle for Paddy Power, his previous sponsor.

"But one thing we know is that Trump is transactional", said one person who works on North Korea, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions.

Senators to ask about Trump pushback on Russia investigation

Mr Trump called Rodman "smart" for his 2013 trip to North Korea, NK News reported.

A suspected North Korean drone had photographed a US missile defense shield in South Korea before it crashed near the border where it was found last week, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

The drone was believed to have crashed because it ran short of fuel while returning to North Korea.

Kim, who visited with Rodman in January 2014, is said to be a big basketball fan. Not only is there the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles shadowing nearly all of Southeast Asia, the reclusive country is now detaining four American citizens on suspicion of "hostile acts" against the regime.

On his first trip to North Korea, Rodman was accompanied by members of the Harlem Globetrotters and a crew from VICE News. Rodman, who appeared on Trump's reality TV show in 2009 and again in 2013, went on to endorse Trump's candidacy in 2015.

The North has occasionally jailed U.S. citizens on charges ranging from hostile acts to illegal entry, and released them only after visits by high-profile figures including former president Bill Clinton.

The purposes of Rodman's visits to North Korea have never been fully transparent.

Rodman, who won national titles with both the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, has visited North Korea several times, including for a birthday celebration in 2014 in which he played basketball.

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