Ex-Chicago Bulls player claims Donald Trump would be pleased with his mission because he is trying to accomplish something we both need
Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea, saying he wants to open the door to the regime and claiming that Donald Trump would be pleased with his mission.
Sporting a baseball cap, sunglasses and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of sponsor PotCoin a cryptocurrency for the legal cannabis industry Rodman was greeted at Pyongyang airport by sports vice-minister Son Kwang Ho and journalists.
Im just trying to open the door, the ex-Chicago Bulls player told reporters at Beijing airport before boarding his Air Koryo flight.
Asked whether he had spoken with Trump about his trip, Rodman said: Im pretty sure hes pretty much happy with the fact that Im over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.
Rodmans trip to North Korea is at least his fifth. Most recently in 2014 he attracted criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his friend for life, the authoritarian leader Kim Jong-un.
The latest visit comes amid high tensions between Washington and Pyongyang following a series of missile tests by the North, which have triggered tightened UN sanctions.
The 56-year-old NBA star, who was heavily criticised for failing to raise the plight of a jailed US missionary on a previous trip, said discussing detained US citizens was not my purpose right now. Four Americans are currently being detained by Pyongyang.
Rodman is one of the few westerners to have met Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011.
It is not clear whether Rodman will be meeting Kim Jong-un during the current trip, or what its exact purpose is.
He said in Beijing his aim was to try to bring sports to North Korea. Rodman has met Kim on some but not all of his previous trips.