The Worm told flanking reporters in an airport in Beijing yesterday that his trip is personal and he wants to visit his friend, dictator Kim Jong-Un, as well as possibly set up a basketball league in the country (how long is he planning to stay?).
Rodman told Reuters in Beijing on September 2:
I’m going to North Korea to meet my friend Kim. It’s a friendly gesture.
I just want to meet my friend Kim, the marshal, and start a basketball league over there, I have not been promised anything. I am just going there as a friendly gesture. I’m just going there on another basketball diplomacy tour.
I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him "Kim", to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) May 7, 2013
On May 7, Rodman asked Kim Jong-un to release U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae. Bae was convicted on April 30, 2013, of a range of offenses including attempting to overthrow the government and promoting Christianity. He was sentenced to hard labor, which reportedly involves working long hours on a farm. A huge diplomatic operation was undertaken by South Korea and the U.S. as both countries tried to open a dialogue with the North over Bae. Bae’s sister has said that her brother is losing a lot of weight and has numerous health concerns.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 3, 2013
Rodman first went to North Korea in February 2013, when he was photographed laughing and joking with the communist dictator while watching basketball. The ex-hoops legend was roundly criticized for fraternizing with the enemy but Rodman maintains that the U.S. and North Korea can get along.