News / USA

Rodman Seems to Blame US Missionary for N. Korean Captivity

Dennis Rodman speaks with fellow U.S. basketball players during a team meeting at a Pyongyang, North Korea hotel, Jan. 7, 2014.
Dennis Rodman speaks with fellow U.S. basketball players during a team meeting at a Pyongyang, North Korea hotel, Jan. 7, 2014.
Reuters
Dennis Rodman, in a television interview on Tuesday, appeared to blame Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae for his captivity in North Korea, the latest in a series of controversial comments by the former U.S. basketball star.
 
During an expletive-ridden interview with CNN about his fourth trip to the reclusive state, Rodman seemed to say that Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, held in North Korea since May 2013 on charges of crimes against the state, was responsible for his own situation.
 
“If you understand what Kenneth Bae did .... Do you understand what he did in this country? Why is he held captive in this country?” Rodman said, declining to respond to questions to clarify what he meant.
 
Rodman brought a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to mark leader Kim Jong Un's birthday, which is believed to fall on Wednesday, though this has never been officially confirmed.
 
The games come just weeks after purge and execution of Kim's uncle Jang Song Thaek, who until then was one of the most powerful figures in North Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has described recent events in North Korea as a “reign of terror.”
 
Asked about Rodman's comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “I'm not going to dignify that outburst with a response,” and emphasized that the trip was “private travel” that was not endorsed by the U.S. government.
 
“I'm simply going to say that we remain gravely concerned about Kenneth Bae's health, and continue to urge DPRK authorities to grant his amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds,” Carney said.

U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in New York, Jan. 6, 2014.U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in New York, Jan. 6, 2014.
x
U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in New York, Jan. 6, 2014.
U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in New York, Jan. 6, 2014.
U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, harshly criticized Rodman and the other Americans for what he called an “ill-advised” trip.
 
“As North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un continues to starve and oppress his citizens, it is unthinkable that a few fading celebrities would use such an opportunity to reward his brutal regime,” he said.

Rodman has faced both ridicule and harsh criticism for his trips to North Korea, which some U.S. politicians and activists view as serving only as fodder for North Korean propaganda.
 
But he defended his latest visit in the interview, saying it would help “open the door” to the reclusive state and was a “great idea for the world.”
 
“This is not about me. If I can open the door a little bit, just a little bit,” Rodman said. “It's all about the game. People love to do one thing - sports.”
 
He also lamented the criticism his visits have drawn.
 
“It's amazing how we thrive on negativity. Does anyone know this guy's only 31 years old?” he said of Kim, whom he calls his friend.
 
“Dennis, he could be 31, he could be 51,” said CNN interviewer Chris Cuomo. “He's just killed his uncle. He's holding an American hostage.”

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: umbriel from: fort worth tx
January 07, 2014 8:17 PM
The CNN interviewer was so liberal in his criticism of Rodman and the inappropriate questions asked, that he actually may have endangered the lives of Rodman and the other American athletes. Even Rodman tried to explain this to the reporter, saying things like "I am here with 10 other American..." The reporter and his team were so smart they were stupid, as they patted themselves on the back for a good job on the put-down of Rodman. Idiots! Let Rodman do his thing, for all you know he may in the end do more good than just being a friend that likes basketball.

In Response

by: umbriel from: fort worth, tx
January 08, 2014 11:12 AM
Karen, no one has been charged with than in over 200 years, The main premise is proof that someone made verbal or written contact with another government that was in contradiction to US relations with that government. There is no such proof, as any political comments from Rodman are directed to the interviewer not to Kim Jong Un. Rodman only claims to have friendship with Kim because they both like basketball. Also note that Obama has not intervened in asking Rodman to quit his friendship.

In Response

by: Karen
January 08, 2014 7:16 AM
It appears that Rodman is in violation of the Logan Act. See: "Conducting Foreign Relations Without Authority:Congressional Research Services (Library of Congress-LOC) http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9143/m1/1/high_res_d/RL33265_2006Feb01.pdf. 2010 version available through LOC.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid