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

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.