News / Asia

Rodman Apologizes for Not Helping US Missionary Imprisoned in North Korea

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman is followed by journalists as he arrives at the Capital International Airport in Beijing from Pyongyang, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.
Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman is followed by journalists as he arrives at the Capital International Airport in Beijing from Pyongyang, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.
VOA News
Former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman and a squad of retired NBA players have arrived in Beijing after a trip to North Korea to play an exhibition game last Wednesday for the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman told reporters at the Beijing airport on Monday that he was sorry he could not do anything to help free imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae, who was setenced by the North to 15 years of hard labor on a conviction of trying to overthrow the government. He said he is not a diplomat and asked the world to put away politics for one day.

"I want to show people that no matter what's going on in the world, for one day, just one day, not politics, not all this stuff. I'm sorry about all the people that's gone, I'm sorry. I'm not the president, I'm not an ambassador, I'm Dennis Rodman, just an individual, just showing the world a fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day. I'd love to see it, I'd love to see it," Rodman told Reuters, then stopped mid-sentence.... apparently overwhelmed with emotion.

The former NBA star and the team visited the isolated and impoverished country as part of a so-called "basketball diplomacy" trip that has been widely criticized in the U.S. He defended his trip as an effort to "open the door" to North Korea. The former NBA All-Star has said it is not his job to bring up politics with the North Korean leader, who he has referred to as a "good guy" and a "friend for life."

Last week during an interview on an American TV network Rodman unleashed a string of obscenities and implied that Bae was to blame for his own incarceration. He later apologized saying he had been drinking at the time and was stressed out.

State Department and White House officials have stressed that Rodman's trip was unhelpful and not sanctioned by the U.S.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

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Comments
     
by: Harry Nair from: Australia
January 13, 2014 3:37 PM
There is nothing apolitical about making a trip to NK.The very fact that it is isolated and reclusive any contact with the north becomes political.Rodman for once should think about helping a fellow American because of his priviliged access to Kim instead of celebrating on the publicity of the visit.If one is priviliged to be in a unique position in this world that privilige brings meaning when good is done.But using such a privilige for personal glory and profit just adds to the perception that Rodman is almost as uncaring as the leader he goes to herald and sing in his honour.

by: Mmoore
January 13, 2014 10:46 AM
Rodman's association with North Korea is perplexing. What is Mr. Kim becomes disenfranchised with Rodman? Thought must be given to the national problem that would cause. Further, Rodman is acting very strange. As if Kim would not put him before a firing squad.

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