Former professional basketball star Dennis Rodman has spoken with UK media outlet ITV about his experiences in North Korea.
Ever since 2013, Rodman has conducted visits to North Korea following on from his successful organisation of a basketball showcase in the country.
Rodman has repeatedly called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un a friend and has spoken fondly of their mutual interest in basketball.
During Rodman’s recent interview he spoke about partaking in various activities with the man North Koreans call the Great Marshall, including skiing, riding horses and karaoke. During Rodman’s last visit to Pyongyang, a visit which resulted in the release of a US citizen convicted and sentenced to prison in North Korea, the basketball legend gave Kim Jong-Un a copy of Donald Trump’s best selling book The Art of The Deal.
Rodman also compared Kim to his acquaintance and former reality television co-star Donald Trump. Rodman said that while Trump often makes outlandish statements, that he is a good leader and that his public and private attitude differs. This is something highlighted by Russian President Vladimir Putin who said of Trump,
“Mr Trump’s television image is very different from the real person; he is a very down to earth and direct person, and he has an absolutely adequate attitude towards the person he is talking with; he analyses things pretty fast and answers the questions he is asked or new ones that arise in the course of the discussion. So I think that if we build our relations in the vein of our yesterday’s meeting, there are good reasons to believe that we will be able to revive, at least partially, the level of interaction that we need”.
Rodman compared Trump’s attempt at rapprochement with Russia to what ought to transpire between Washington and Pyongyang.
While Rodman characterised Russia-US relations as healthier than they have turned out to be, the essence of his message was clear. Rodman has become a champion- of dialogue between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Rodman is uniquely placed to make such a call as he is one of the very few men on the planet who can honestly say that he has had a good personal relationship with both leaders.
Just as the so-called Ping-pong Diplomacy of the Nixon era helped to ease tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, so too might Rodman hold the proverbial ace in the pack when it comes to thawing the currently frosty relations between the US and the DPRK.
While Rodman is known for his own often unusual style, Rodman appeared to be calm and rational in an interview with hosts who got many facts about North Korea incorrect. One of Rodman’s interviewers even stated that there are ‘Gulags’ in North Korea, even though such things were part of Stalin’s Soviet government and bear no relationship to any realities in the 20th century.
Now watch Dennis Rodman’s call for dialogue amid tense US-North Korean relations.