News / USA

Rodman Visit to North Korea Sparks Strong Reactions

Rodman Visit to North Korea Sparks Strong Reactionsi
X
January 15, 2014 5:05 PM
Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, made some people cringe at the idea that former the former basketball super star would call a leader who recently killed his uncle a friend. But while critics say the trip was useless, others disagree. Mariama Diallo reports.
Mariama Diallo
Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, made some people cringe at the idea that former the former basketball super star would call a leader who recently killed his uncle a friend. But while critics say the trip was useless, others disagree.

"I am sorry. I am not the President. I am not an ambassador. I am Dennis Rodman," he stated. He started with an apology but soon was overwhelmed with tears about the reaction to his recent trip to North Korea.  Rodman explained all he wanted to do was “Just show the world that we can actually get along and be happy for one day,” he said.

The idea wasn't popular in the U.S. Neither was it in neighboring South Korea where social media comments about his trip were not always complimentary.. But all along, Rodman said he was not interested in politics.

Although he did sing happy birthday to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Dan Pinkston is Deputy Director for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group. He said the basketball player meant well. “Dennis Rodman is a private citizen. Sportsmen going there are demonstrating to the North Korean leadership and North Korean people that Americans and others are not evil,” he explained.

Michael O'Hanlon, at the Brookings Institution, grew up watching basketball.  He said the brouhaha around Rodman’s trip is a commotion over nothing. "For those of us who have watched his career, I believe he’s acting the way Dennis Rodman always does," he said.

O’Hanlon said the important thing is what the world has learned about the young North Korean leader. And it should be taken seriously. “I think we’ve learned that he’s willing to be brutal, that he is his grandfather’s grandson and his father’s son. He’s acting in the Kim tradition. This is not a nice group of people," O'Hanlon noted. "They have ruled over the last Stalinist regime on Earth. They are as brutal as anyone on the planet in that period of time.”

Although there was never any evidence that Kim Jong Un was going to be different, O’Hanlon said he was hoping Mr. Kim would be a reformist considering his western education. “Unfortunately this execution of his uncle, who was the closest to China as anybody in the North Korean Ruling elite as far as I understand, is probably a bad sign because that suggests that even a person who’s open to reform is not going to be tolerated,” he stated.

O'Hanlon said Rodman or not, sports diplomacy can't do much for a country like North Korea. But a vision of a different kind of relationship with the country, he said, is worth exploring.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Darrel Cummings from: Missouri, USA
January 15, 2014 3:33 PM
Michael O'Hanlon is another non-Korean speaker caught in this reformer/nonreformer mindset. Their conclusions are to be ignored. The regime needs militarism in order to justify itself. Watch B.R. Meyer's free book lecture on C-SPAN's internet, read the articles of Andrei Lankov, or buy the books. You do not compromise with the Regime. You contain it militarily and you do not sanctions bust it like the sponsors of these trip has done.

In Response

by: Confucius from: China
January 16, 2014 1:07 PM
That is Kim Jong Un's #1 personal bodyguard in the background of the video frame visible above this article. He was also previously Kim Jong-Il's #1 bodyguard, accompanying him on trips to China. He does not appear in the still photos released by North Korean media showing Rodman, Kim, and the interpreter.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid