Summit Visitor: Former U.S. Basketball Player Dennis Rodman, a Kim Jong-un Friend

  • VOA News

    June 12, 2018 08:20

    Dennis Rodman, a flamboyant, one-time U.S. professional basketball player, showed up Monday in Singapore ready to renew his unique friendship with Kim Jong-un as the North Korean dictator gets prepares for his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

    Rodman, 57, arrived wearing a T-shirt that said, "Peace Starts in Singapore," produced by PotCoin, a cryptocurrency for the legalized marijuana industry that has paid for at least one of his five trips to visit Kim in North Korea.

    Rodman, a five-time champion in the National Basketball Association, is 20 years removed from his playing days. But he has stayed in the spotlight with his frequent trips to North Korea, which the U.S. State Department has distanced itself from over the years. Rodman's visits occurred long before Trump and Kim traded belligerent taunts, and before they decided to hold a summit over the North's nuclear weapons program.

    Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman arrives at Singapore's Changi Airport on June 12, 2018. /AP

    Rodman said he was not sure if he would meet up with Kim on the sidelines of the summit.

    "I got to say, you know, it's up in the air right now," he said. "He's got bigger things to worry about than seeing me right now. Trying to make this conference something more, a good gateway. Like I said, every time I see him, it's always a surprise. So, maybe tomorrow is the same thing. So far, let's see how tomorrow ends."

    Rodman predicted the summit "should go fairly well, but people should not expect so much for the first time. Like I said, the doors are open."

    He said that with the taunts Trump and Kim traded last year, "it could have been a disaster. Trump could have said something different. Kim Jong-un could have said something different. But I think that it's fair to say that both of them will see what this meeting is going to do."

    Rodman, who in 2013 took former pro basketball players with him to North Korea, has said he visited the country with good intentions, to "break the ice between hostile countries."

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