News

Dennis Rodman back in N. Korea despite political tension

Dennis Rodman back in N. Korea despite political tension

BACK IN NORTH KOREA: Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks at a news conference in New York Sept. 9. Photo: Reuters/Eric Thayer

By James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) – Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea for a third time on Thursday despite political tension surrounding the execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, trip organizers said.

“It’s certainly safe, even when there is a bit of disruption like there is now — a bit of trouble or chaos — there’s even more need for cultural or sporting exchanges,” said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has arranged the trip.

Rodman has visited Pyongyang on two other occasions, during which he spent time dining as a guest of Kim Jong Un, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

In a rare admission of factionalism within the North Korean government, Jang Song Thaek was purged and then executed last week – a period South Korean President Park Geun-hye described as a “reign of terror”.

Rodman is expected to provide North Korea’s national basketball team with four days of training. He also intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball games on Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

“This being is orchestrated under the guise of sport,” Scott said. “Dennis is going to spend a couple of days training the North Korean team to get them ship shape for the January match.”

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Recently Played

Latest Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

mondaynight

A look back on the Hollywood headlines that made history.

in Entertainment

It’s been 30 years since ‘The Cosby Show’ debuted

cosby

Here are some of our favorite moments from one of America's favorite TV families.

in Music

New Queen album features Michael Jackson collaboration

25-overlay3

The track features vocals from late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and the King of Pop.

in Entertainment

Jennifer Garner’s life ‘too boring’ for Instagram

jennifer

The "Dallas Buyers Club" actress is adamant she won't join her husband, actor Ben Affleck, on Twitter either.

in Music

Cher hit with $10M discrimination suit

cher

Three backup dancers are suing the legendary performer, saying they were fired for the color of their skin.