Former NBA player Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea

Jerome Frank
June 14, 2017

Rodman is known to have a close relationship with U.S. President Trump, having appeared Trump's show the Celebrity Apprentice, and in 2013 the President described the former National Basketball Association star's trips to North Korea as "smart".

He told reporters at Beijing airport Tuesday that he believes President Donald Trump is happy with his visit "to accomplish something we both need".

This combination of file photos shows former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea on December 20, 2013, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. The event soon became overshadowed by politics after Rodman suffered an angry meltdown on CNN before the game when asked whether during the trip he would raise the issue of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary who was detained in North Korea at the time on charges of "anti-state crimes".

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman of the USA shows a picture which he took with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as he arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport September 7, 2013. Most recently in 2014 he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his "friend for life", leader Kim Jong-Un.

A foreign ministry official who spoke to the AP in Pyongyang confirmed Rodman was expected to arrive Tuesday but could not provide details.

Rodman is a rare individual who could claim friendships with both Kim and Trump, whom he worked with as a cast member for two seasons on "Celebrity Apprentice".

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Mr Trump called Rodman "smart" for his 2013 trip to North Korea, NK News reported. "Thank you PotCoin.com for sponsoring my mission", Rodman tweeted Tuesday before taking a flight from Beijing to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Not only is there the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles shadowing nearly all of Southeast Asia, the reclusive country is now detaining four American citizens on suspicion of "hostile acts" against the regime. Rodman, who appeared on Trump's reality TV show in 2009 and again in 2013, went on to endorse Trump's candidacy in 2015.

Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, brought the older Kim a basketball autographed by Michael Jordan during a visit in 2000.

Rodman's second visit to North Korea is expected to be just as controversial amidst heightened tensions.

The visit, the objective of which remained unclear, would be Rodman's latest to the nuclear-armed nation.

Pyongyang has unleashed a string of missile launches and tests of other advanced weaponry in recent weeks as it seeks to highlight its progress toward mastering the technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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