News / Asia

    South Koreans Show Outrage Over Rodman's Pyongyang Trip

    A protester wearing a mask depicting former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman, attends a rally in central Seoul, South Korea, Jan.8, 2014, denouncing Rodman's visit to North Korea and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Kim's birthday.
    A protester wearing a mask depicting former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman, attends a rally in central Seoul, South Korea, Jan.8, 2014, denouncing Rodman's visit to North Korea and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Kim's birthday.
    Junghwa BaekSeoyeon Je
    American basketball star Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea is not winning him many friends in South Korea.

    South Korean social media sites are filled with sneering comments about the former National Basketball Association All-Star - accusing him of going to North Korea for money and calling him names like “psychopath.”

    One Twitter user wrote, “Dear North Korea: Rodman is a gift.  Happy (belated) holidays” @MangJang_chb(01.06).

    Comments became especially angry after a video showed him singing “Happy Birthday” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    Rodman, who is on his fourth trip to North Korea, calls Kim his friend.  This time, he brought along a group of former NBA players and others to play basketball with North Korean players, an effort in what Rodman calls sports diplomacy.

    • Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, Jan. 8, 2014.
    • Dennis Rodman tips his hat as U.S. and North Korean basketball players applaud at the end of an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, Jan. 8, 2014.
    • Dennis Rodman cheers after a fellow basketball player makes a jump shot during a practice session with North Korean players in Pyongyang, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Dennis Rodman meets with former North Korean basketball player Ri Myung Hun at a practice session with U.S. and North Korean players in Pyongyang, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Dennis Rodman huddles with North Korean basketball players and fellow former NBA stars at a practice session in Pyongyang, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • A North Korean basketball player returns the scarf that Dennis Rodman was wearing and took off during a practice with North Korean and U.S. basketball players in Pyongyang, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Dennis Rodman stands up to leave after he and fellow U.S. basketball players completed a television interview at a Pyongyang hotel, Jan. 7, 2014.

    South Koreans were skeptical.  “He is doing ding-dong diplomacy, which is useless.  If you are doing basketball diplomacy, you should have a result because time has passed pretty much since you met Kim Jong Un for the first time,” Wolf10 wrote on the Korean website “Daum”.

    Rodman said the proceeds from the game would be used for helping the deaf.  But many were doubtful.  “Don’t you really believe that it will be used for his people, not Kim Jong Un?”  “JOEE” wrote on Korean website Nate.

    And many South Koreans mocked Rodman’s on-camera outburst when a CNN journalist interviewed him about the trip and his relationship.  Rodman also indicated that Kenneth Bae, an American who has been held by North Korea for more than a year, had done something wrong to justify his detention.

    One comment said, “I think it is not sports diplomacy to sing “Happy Birthday” to him [Kim].  If you do, you can’t be so sensitive when you got the question from Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor.”

    Rodman has quite a number of fans in Korea, and many are disappointed by his trip to North Korea. 

    One fan, “Dhqk” wrote, “When he was active in his basketball game, I was really a big fan of him whom is pitted against other center players very well.  But after his retirement, he seems to act as Kim Jong Un’s tool ...  I feel sad as a fan.”

    The two countries have been divided for nearly 70 years.  Communist North Korea is considered one of the most isolated and repressive nations on the world, while democratic South Korea is among the wealthiest advanced nations.

    Some South Koreans are angry that Rodman won’t discuss international concerns about North Korea, such as its nuclear weapons program and its poor human rights record. 

    But a few posts saw a potential for good in the trip.  NAVER blogger “Ssminss80” wrote, “It is hard for us to get information about North Korea.  But, Rodman gave us information on how North Korea is.  It is not totally bad.”

    Clll**** wrote, “It looks like [they are] just having fun.  Because North Korea’s treated him as a king, [a man] who is already a retired basketball player.  What if ... he wanted to dedicate to world peace and visit the North to conciliate and then become unified? He would deserve to win the Nobel Prize for peace."

    But at least one blogger had a sarcastic warning for Rodman, “You have to be careful you don’t want to be like a Jang Sung Thaek who was executed by his nephew, Kim Jong Un.”

    Below are more comments from South Korean media sites: 

    “Is there no pride as an American??”
    clie****(01.08 KST 21:31 )

    “He is a Redman, not Rodman.”
    s2ke****(01.08 KST 21:30 )

    “I’m a Korean who lives in Boston.  This is not a funny thing.  U.S. [is]worried about Rodman’s action very seriously.  Once he gets a lot of media exposure [in North Korea], Americans will not consider North Korea to be a hostile country anymore.  The negative image of North Korea will disappear.  It’s not helpful at all for the policy against the North.”
    arma****(01.08 KST 22:33)

    “Let’s talk after he lives in North Korea for a year.”
    Askh***(01.07 KST 12:06 )

    “It seems the CIA or U.S. government gives him a mission for spying.”
    Psy8**** (01.07 KST 14:00)

    “I watched the interview with CNN.  He looks like a typical psychopath.”
    SJ Kim @worldendboy (01.08)

    “I hope he realizes the North should not exist on the earth.”
    SH. Hong ‏@Reasia8912100 (01.08)

    “They attended basketball game for Kim Jong Un’s birthday?  What a jerk.  They’re more like just poor old men.  Kim Jong-un gave them a lot of money.  I can’t understand either of them.”
    @zdgd (01.08)

    “In a word, Rodman is insane.  He knew what’s going on the North.  When he interviewed with CNN, it seemed a dog is barking.”
    @SanChoLong15 (01.08)

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: moomoo from: usa
    January 10, 2014 3:43 PM
    by looking at his picture here I can't help... saying ...what an ugly guy !

    by: steven from: Taiwan
    January 10, 2014 7:28 AM
    I consider that Korean was unified in future,but which conquer another,that's a lot space to think.

    by: John Roberts from: Australasia
    January 10, 2014 12:06 AM
    For 70 years, no diplomacy has worked, and torture continues in North Korea. What Rodman is doing may seem insane and traitorous, but by befriending Kim Jong Un, he may in fact be able to condition him slowly into a more liberal, western thinking, and THEN approach more sensitive issues with a better result. It may be, in fact, a stroke of genius and more effective than anything else since Korea was divided by the west (let's not forget). Let's wait and see. It cannot really get much worse, now can it.
    In Response

    by: David from: The US
    January 10, 2014 5:15 PM
    "he may in fact be able to condition him slowly into a more liberal, western thinking, " You do understand that you are talking about Rodman here?

    by: wag from: United States
    January 09, 2014 11:23 PM
    Kim Jong Un is a barbaric murderer. He is the one that should be shot....The hundreds and hundreds of innocent poor people that have been killed. He is another Hitler. And Poor Mr Rodman is no longer in the limelite....so he decides to be a insult and a disgrace to the free country he lives in. It says to me that it's OK whatever this communist does..."he's my friend". Maybe he should go over there and live, and he will probably end up like the communist's uncle when his favorite friend turns on him.

    by: DJ
    January 09, 2014 9:43 PM
    He is another Hanoi Jane fonda
    In Response

    by: Dav from: Gangnam
    January 11, 2014 8:20 AM
    DJ - I understand what you're thinking, but I remember Fonda and her comments and actions go a lot farther than Rodman who we'll just consider an idiot. I could and never will forgive Fonda standing behind an anti-aircraft twin-Dishka machine-gun and saying "I wish I had one in my sights right now" meaning she wanted to kill an American.

    by: butterball
    January 09, 2014 9:41 PM
    . U and Jane Fonda would make a great pair ur both crazy

    by: df from: hall
    January 09, 2014 8:13 PM
    Rodman illiterare moron

    by: Jay Locke from: Boston
    January 09, 2014 5:46 PM
    First thing that came to mind upon reading the title of this article: South Korea, welcome to the club.

    Don't be confused brothers, you will find it very difficult to find an American who does *not* think Rodman is a fool. Read any American newspaper. He is a circus clown that we've tried to ignore for a long time now. Our only hope is that one of these days, North Korea will keep him. Many Americans despise the NK government as much as you do.

    by: j.webster from: seattle
    January 09, 2014 5:00 PM
    re-posting comments from various websites is not journalism or generally even close to educated commentary. It is more appropriately termed "mob mentality in a semi-disorganized framework". Is that helpful?


    by: Shawn from: California
    January 09, 2014 4:36 PM
    Jong Un and Rodman appear to be a lot alike.. 2 guys who feel vastly insecure and will both do anything to open the social spotlight on themselves. They'll ride this out as long as it gives them both attention. It's not about diplomacy or foreign relations - it's just "hey.. everyone's paying attention to me again!"
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora