Dennis Rodman Lands In North Korea For Kim Jong Un Birthday

Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea, landing on Thursday to resume his brand of “basketball diplomacy.” Rodman says he plans to hang out with Kim Jong Un and celebrate his coming birthday. In fact, the former NBA star says he plans to train a basketball team while there to play a game for the North Korean leader in January.

Many have criticized Dennis Rodman’s friendship with Kim Jong Un, the leader of a brutally repressive nation. As previously reported on The Inquisitr, Kim Jong Un’s uncle was executed by his order last week. While many reasons have been put forth for the shocking act, some see Jang Song Thaek’s removal as a power grab.

Shin Dong-hyuk, famously the only person known born in a North Korean labor camp to successfully escape, has written Rodman a letter about his trip. Published in The Washington Post, Shin describes the incredible hardships he and the other prisoners faced in North Korea. He recalls inmates fighting to eat a live rat amid constant starvation. Shin says that workers are often executed “as a lesson” to the others, recalling the time he was forced to watch his mother killed.

Shin says while it is not his place to ask Dennis Rodman to reconsider his third trip to North Korea, he asks that he make good use of his visit. He believes Rodman could use his friendship with Kim Jong Un to make him aware of the horrific nature of his country’s policies.

Despite Shin and other’s criticisms of Dennis Rodman’s trips to North Korea, he says Kim Jong Un is a “very good guy.” After Rodman’s first visit in February, they found a common interest in basketball, developing a bond between the two. As Rodman told the North Korean leader, “You have a friend for life.”

When asked about the execution of Jang Song Thaek and other instances of alleged human rights abuses, the former NBA star remarked, “It has nothing to do with me.” When it comes to what happens in North Korea, Dennis Rodman says that he has “no control over that. I mean, these things have been going on for years and years and years.”

Shin Dong-hyuk and others may have hoped the former basketball player would use the visit to push for reform. Instead, Dennis Rodman says he’s “just going over there to do a basketball game and have some fun.”

What do you think Dennis Rodman’s visits to North Korea should do? What do you think of his friendship with Kim Jong Un? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

[Image via dossyl /]