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)

Latest Headlines

8 hours ago in Viral Videos

Who’s your daddy?

16-overlay-10

When you're a baby and your dad is a twin, life can be confusing.

11 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Oh mother …

23-overlay-3

Is it the worst "Family Feud" answer ever? Judge for yourself.

14 hours ago in Sports

NASCAR changes to franchise model

nascar

NASCAR has announced a dramatic overhaul of its business model, shifting to a franchise-like system that is intended to provide actual value and financial stability to team owners.

14 hours ago in Sports

It’s now Professor Selig

budselig

The former baseball commissioner has a new gig.

14 hours ago in Sports

Denver streets run orange to welcome Super Bowl-winning Broncos

12-overlay-9

Hundreds of thousands of cheering, orange-clad Denver Broncos fans lined the city's streets on Tuesday for a parade and rally to welcome home the team after their upset victory in Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.