News / Asia

Rodman Apologizes for Rant, Heads to N. Korean Ski Resort

FILE - Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman talks to the media at the Beijing International Airport.
FILE - Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman talks to the media at the Beijing International Airport.
Reuters
Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman visited a North Korean ski resort on Thursday with dictator Kim Jong Un as a statement was issued on the former player's behalf apologizing for comments he made about an American jailed by Pyongyang.
 
A source with direct knowledge of Rodman's itinerary said the 52-year-old took a helicopter to a new multimillion dollar resort which is one of Kim's showcase projects and which has been condemned as a waste of money in a country where most people are malnourished.
 
The source declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
 
Rodman's visit to North Korea, his fourth, has drawn criticism from human rights activists and the family of imprisoned U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae after Rodman appeared to suggest in an interview peppered with obscenities that Bae, rather than the North Korean authorities, was responsible for his incarceration.
 
Rodman's public relations firm issued a statement attributed to the retired player apologizing for the comments and saying that he had been drinking on a stressful day.
 
It was not possible to verify with the company whether Rodman had seen the statement as it did not reply to email or telephone inquiries.
 
“I want to apologize, I take full responsibility,” Rodman was quoted by CNN as saying in the statement. “I embarrassed a lot of people. I'm very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I'm truly sorry.”
 
Bae's sister, Terri Chung, has said her family was outraged by Rodman's comments and that he should use his access to the North Korean leader to advocate on Bae's behalf, rather than “hurl outrageous accusations”.
 
“He is playing games with my brother's life,” Chung said in a statement.
 
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
x
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Kenneth Bae being interviewed by Japanese pro-North Korea newspaper Choson Sinbo at North Korean labor camp, June 26, 2013.
Bae, 45, was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for state subversion in North Korea, where he was detained in 2012 while  leading a tour group. The Supreme Court said he used his tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the government.
 
On Wednesday, Rodman led a chorus  singing “Happy Birthday” to the leader of the isolated and heavily sanctioned country at a basketball match that Kim attended with his wife.

Related video clip: Dennis Rodman Sings "Happy Birthday" to Kim Jong Un
 
Rodman Sings Happy Birthday to N. Korea's Kim Jong Uni
X
January 08, 2014 2:57 PM
Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman led North Koreans in singing "Happy Birthday" to the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, before a planned basketball game Wednesday in Pyongyang.

North Korean state media said the song was “reflecting [Rodman's] reverence” for Kim Jong Un, and that he had organized the game as a gift for his birthday, confirming for the first time the leader's date of birth. He is believed to be 31.
 
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, dedicated its front page to coverage of the basketball game and published photos of Kim sitting and laughing with Rodman.
 
“Dennis Rodman said he was overjoyed and teared up when he met the Dear Respected Marshal again,” the newspaper said.
 
Starved, beaten, amused
 
The fading basketball star's trips had been financed by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, although it has now withdrawn its funding.
 
It is not known whether Rodman has the capacity to fund another trip. North Korea rarely pays for this kind of visit, according to experts on the country.
 
Rodman has described Kim, who has been in power for just over two years as his “friend.”
 
Kim has presided over two long range rocket launches - banned under U.N. sanctions due to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and proliferation efforts - a nuclear test and last year threatened to attack South Korea, Japan and the United States.
 
People watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 9, 2013.People watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 9, 2013.
x
People watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 9, 2013.
People watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 9, 2013.
Last month, his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was executed in one of the biggest and most public purges undertaken in North Korea, which has been ruled by the same family for three generations.
 
Jang is just one of hundreds of thousands North Koreans who have faced death or imprisonment in the North. An estimated 150,000-200,000 people are in political prisons and forced labor camps, according to rights activists.
 
Defectors have testified to summary executions and rampant human rights abuses on North Korea. They say they were starved, beaten and abused in work camps where many die and that babies born in the camps were killed.
 
While North Koreans suffer from food shortages and malnutrition, according to U.N. assessments, Kim has pushed ahead with big building projects such as the Masik Ski Resort that Rodman visited.
 
South Korean officials estimate it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and North Korea aims to make $43.75 million in annual profit from the resort, according to documents prepared for potential foreign investors. It expects up to 5,000 skiers to visit per day.
 
Pictures released at the resort opening late last year showed just one chair lift and an assortment of snow equipment that appeared to have been imported despite a U.N. ban on the export of “luxury” goods to the North.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: August West from: Earth
January 13, 2014 4:42 AM
Its kinda BS that Rodman is getting grief and the blame for Bae's imprisonment now. He is not a US Diplomat or US Government Official. He is there as representative in the name of sport and basketball. Not prison negotiations and politics. Rodman just got sick of everyone asking and pestering him about it. He may have made things worse for Bae if he got involved. When the Olympics were in Germany during Hitlers reign were the athletes expected to negotiate with Hitler to quit killing all the Jews?


by: Justin from: United States
January 09, 2014 11:05 PM
I'm so excited about the ski resort. I'm definitely going to ski there. What a great way to help the so called impoverished country than by sending tourist dollars their way.


by: Jerry Frey from: USA+
January 09, 2014 12:01 PM
"In the North’s version of events, however, there was neither a draw nor a North Korean invasion. North Korean textbooks say the war — known as the Fatherland Liberation War — was started by “U.S. imperialists” who wanted to dominate Asia."

Rodman has always been a cartoon; now he's just a fool and a propaganda tool....http://napoleonlive.info/see-the-evidence/facts-about-north-korea-2/"


by: blah from: blan
January 09, 2014 9:33 AM
Rodong Sinmun - North Korean for 'Rodman is my son"


by: Stephen Real
January 09, 2014 9:21 AM
as long as the angry people don't mess things up
the only asset the US has in North Korea is Dennis Rodman.
but then again...many people misunderstand all that they see
which is to the USA's advantage.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid