SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

September 4, 2013

Rodman to visit his 'friend' Kim in North Korea

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is in North Korea with plans to hang out with authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, have a good time and maybe bridge some cultural gaps — but not be a diplomat.

Rodman was greeted at Pyongyang’s airport yesterday by Son Kwang Ho, vice-chairman of North Korea’s Olympic Committee, just days after Pyongyang rejected a visit by a U.S. envoy who had hoped to bring home Kenneth Bae, an American missionary jailed there. The North abruptly called off the official visit because it said the U.S. had ruined the atmosphere for talks by holding a drill over South Korea with nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

Rodman said the purpose of his visit was to display his friendship for Kim and North Korea and to “show people around the world that we as Americans can actually get along with North Korea.”

Speaking to reporters in Beijing ahead of his flight to Pyongyang — his second trip to the North — Rodman declined to say whether he would seek Bae’s release. Bae’s health is poor, and he was recently transferred to a hospital.

“I just want to meet my friend Kim, the marshal, and start a basketball league over there or something like that,” said Rodman, wearing rings through his lower lip and each nostril. “I have not been promised anything. I am just going there as a friendly gesture.”

Bae was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state. Rodman once asked on his Twitter account for Kim to “do me a solid” and release Bae. Kim has the power to grant special pardons under the North’s constitution.

“I’m not there to be a diplomat. I’m there to go there and just have a good time, sit with (Kim) and his family, and that’s pretty much it,” Rodman said, adding that he planned to see Kim “pretty soon,” perhaps later yesterday or today. Rodman is being hosted in North Korea by the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sport, which has not confirmed if or when Rodman will meet Kim Jong Un.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140801_SN_DLE_BEVDEPOT10 PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Beverly MBTA garage opens Current and former state and city officials gathered Friday, Aug. 1, to celebrate the opening of Beverly's brand-new MBTA parking garage.

    August 2, 2014

  • Hunt underway after reported kidnapping at knife point in Wenham

    Police in Wenham and surrounding towns as well as state police units are searching for a man who reportedly kidnapped a 21-year-old Wenham woman at knife point Friday night.

    August 1, 2014

  • Police in helicopters spot marijuana plants in Salem, Peabody PEABODY -- The state police buzzed over Peabody by helicopter this week and spotted marijuana plants growing outside a home on St. Ann's Avenue. A ground unit was alerted and cut down the plants. The operation was part of regular "marijuana eradicati

    August 1, 2014

  • 140801_SN_DLE_BEVDEPOT3.jpg Beverly MBTA garage opens

    Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Mike Cahill opened the new MBTA parking garage Friday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the roof.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sex offender found in New Hampshire

    The Level 3 sex offender who allegedly cut off his GPS bracelet and absconded after he was spotted with a 16-year-old boy, in violation of his probation in a child rape case, has been arrested in Manchester, New Hampshire.

    August 1, 2014