Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is expected to visit North Korea on Dec. 19-23 as scheduled despite the ongoing purge surrounding leader Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-taek.
He will supervise a friendship game between a team of former NBA players and a North Korean team in Pyongyang on Jan. 8, Kim Jong-un's birthday.
"Yes, I'm going to North Korea to train the basketball team," he told AP last Friday. "I'm going to bring American players over there. Yes I am. I'm going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands [with North Koreans] and hoping the [North Korean] doors can be opened. If they can. If they can. If they can. I'm going. I'm going back for his birthday. Special."
The North is taking advantage of Rodman's visit to earn hard currency.
Beijing-based travel agency Koryo Tours "said it had procured 12 exclusive tickets to see Rodman and other stars play on Jan. 8," Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported Sunday.
The trip, including a tour of North Korea on Jan. 6-9 and the basketball game, will cost 6,500 euro.