Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea for basketball diplomacy

Cheryl Sanders
June 14, 2017

No word yet on if Rodman will meet with North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.

In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim with a rendition of "Happy Birthday".

Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the NY.

There are three other Americans now being held in North Korea.

"At the direction of the President, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea", Tillerson said in a statement.

The Trump administration sought to dampen speculation about Rodman's role by sharing details of its diplomatic efforts to win consular access and freedom for Americans held in Pyongyang.

The State Department is continuing to discuss the situation of three other detained Americans with North Korea, Tillerson said.

"I beg that you see how I am only human", Warmbier said at his trial. Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the NY, where Yun learned about Warmbier's condition. "We get to see our son Otto tonight", he said.

University President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement that the school is relieved to hear Warmbier was released, but is concerned about his condition.

Headed back to North Korea.

The 22-year-old contracted botulism and is in "bad shape" but en route back to the United States, a source close to the family told CNN.

Rodman is a rare individual who could claim friendships with both Kim and Trump, whom he worked with as a cast member for two seasons on "Celebrity Apprentice".

Warmbier was detained in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang while on his way home. We wish him well. Thousands of USA troops are based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

"We also call on North Korea to immediately release Kim Dong Chul, a Korean-American who was arrested in April 2016; Tony Kim, a Korean-American who was arrested in April 2017; Kim Hak-Song, a Korean-American who was arrested in May 2017; and Hyeon Soo Lim, a Korean-Canadian who was arrested in February 2015".

North Korea has released a US college student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel last year, US Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed.

Joseph Yun, the USA envoy on North Korea, met with North Korean foreign ministry representatives in Norway last month, a White House official said.

Rodman said he plans to accomplish something "pretty positive" while in North Korea.

Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.

"We have no comment on Mr Warmbier's condition, out of respect for him and his family", Tillerson told United States senators at the start of a hearing into his budget.

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