Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman
Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman Independent News & Media

Rodman returns from North Korea without prisoner

DENNIS Rodman has returned from another visit to see his "friend for life", North Korean autocrat Kim Jong Un.

According to the reclusive state's official news agency, KCNA, the two had "a cordial talk," and Kim invited Rodman back again "any time."

The report said they watched a basketball game together, and Kim hosted a dinner for the former Chicago Bull and LA Laker.

Upon his return to Beijing Airport, reporters asked Rodman if he had lobbied in the defence of Kenneth Bae, the US citizen of Korean heritage who was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state.

"Guess what?", Rodman replied, "that's not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae."

"Ask (President Barack) Obama about that. Ask Hillary Clinton," he added, perhaps unaware that John Kerry - not Clinton - is now the US Secretary of State.

Rodman did once ask Kim via Twitter to "do me a solid" and release Bae.

Wielding an unlit cigar and wearing what looked like a glittery silver beret, Rodman showed off photos of himself with Kim, hugging, laughing and chatting over a meal.

The NBA Hall of Famer and five-time championship winner said the two had formed a close bond over the course of his two visits to the isolated communist dictatorship.

"He's my friend for life. I don't care what you guys think about him," he said.

At one point, the eccentric star lost his temper and hurled obscene remarks at reporters. He had to be restrained by a member of his entourage before being bundled into a waiting car.

Rodman told The Associated Press as he was leaving his hotel in Pyongyang that Kim had spoken about his visiting again, and that Kim "really actually wants to change things."

He said Kim had encouraged Rodman when he goes back to the United States to "say some very good, positive, and very good things about this country, that's what we talked about a lot."

Rodman first met Kim - a basketball fan - during a visit in February to promote the sport and make a film. The two-time defensive player of the year has suggested "basketball diplomacy" could warm relations and has called Kim an "awesome guy."
 

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