World News

    Rodman Back in NKorea for 'Basketball Diplomacy' Trip

    Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman is in North Korea for the second time this year but is refusing to say whether the release of an imprisoned Korean-American is on his agenda.

    Before flying to Pyongyang Tuesday, Rodman told reporters at the Beijing airport he hopes to meet again with his "friend," North Korea's authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, during his so-called basketball diplomacy tour.



    "I want to try to keep the communication going, as far as like, I just want to go over there to meet my friend Kim, the marshall, and try to, you know, start a new basketball league, stuff like that."



    The flamboyant Rodman held a rare face-to-face meeting with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang in February. During that trip, Rodman called the authoritarian leader his "friend for life."

    Last week, Rodman told the Huffington Post that he would "definitely" use his latest visit to ask Mr. Kim for the release of ailing Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who is serving 15 years of hard labor in the North.

    But on Tuesday, Rodman refused to answer questions on Bae, saying he is "not going to talk about that." The 52-year-old Hall of Fame player said he has not been promised anything on Bae's release, but was simply going to the North as a "friendly gesture."

    Rodman's visit comes after North Korea withdrew an invitation for a senior U.S. envoy because of U.S.-South Korean military drills that took place last month.



    U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights Issues Robert King was due to travel to Pyongyang Friday to request that Bae be freed on humanitarian grounds.

    Bae's mother, Myunghee Bae, told VOA's Korean service that she is disappointed the trip was canceled and that everything seems unclear at this moment. She added that she hopes her son can be released through the resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea.

    Leonid Petrov, a Korea analyst at the Australian National University, told VOA that Rodman's visit may be Bae's best hope for a quick release.



    "There would at least be some logic in what North Korea is doing. They're trying to channel the diplomacy from high-level State Department (interaction) into people-to-people diplomacy."



    Bae is a 44-year-old Christian missionary who was arrested after entering North Korea as a tour operator in November. He was convicted of trying to topple North Korea's government. His family says his health is quickly deteriorating.

    North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009. All have been allowed to return home before serving their full sentences. Most were released following visits by prominent Americans, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora