Rodman, speaking during his fourth trip to the country, expressed
"love" for leader Kim Jong Un and claimed his controversial trip was
a "great idea for the world".
Rodman and a team of fellow former National Basketball Association
stars will hold basketball games in the North Korean capital,
Pyongyang, to mark Kim's birthday, which is believed to fall on
Wednesday, though this has never been officially confirmed.
The games come just weeks after Kim's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek
was purged and executed. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has
described recent events in North Korea as a "reign of terror.
During the interview, the former NBA star also appeared to question
the activities of Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has
been held in North Korea on charges of crimes against the state
since May last year.
"If you understand what Kenneth Bae did .... Do you understand what
he did in this country? Why is he held captive in this country?"
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Rodman has faced both ridicule and harsh criticism from some
quarters for his trips, which some U.S. politicians and activists
view as serving only as fodder for propaganda efforts by the North
"This is not about me. If I can open the door a little bit, just a
little bit," Rodman said. "It's all about the game. People love to
do one thing — sports."
He also lamented the criticism his visits have drawn.
"It's amazing how we thrive on negativity. Does anyone know this
guy's only 31 years old?" he said of Kim, whom he calls his friend.
"Dennis, he could be 31, he could be 51," said CNN interviewer Chris
Cuomo. "He's just killed his uncle. He's holding an American
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and David Stanway in
Beijing; editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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