- Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
- Former basketball player Dennis Rodman says there’s a “great possibility” that the tensions between the US and North Korea will end if Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet. Talking about his unlikely friendship with the North Korea leader, he said they sing karaoke and ride horses together. Rodman said he’s not an apologist for Kim Jong Un and professed: “I love Donald Trump.”
Dennis Rodman has claimed that the North Korean issue could be resolved if people just better understood his friend, Kim Jong Un.
Speaking on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” on Wednesday, the former American basketball player appeared to defend the North Korean dictator and claimed that ongoing tensions could ease if US President Donald Trump just met him in person.
North Korea claimed last weekend to have developed its most powerful nuclear weapon yet: A hydrogen bomb that could reach the US.
Last week, the country also flew a missile over Japan, and warned that it was a “meaningful prelude” to attacking the US island territory of Guam.
South Korea and Japan, the two countries closest to North Korea, have since ramped up their defence capabilities.
“I’ve never seen anyone, in my life, have that much power,” Rodman said of his unlikely friendship with the man apparently threatening the US with nuclear war.
Rodman, who laughed while “Good Morning Britain’s” presenters listed Kim’s recent threats, gave a different solution.
“I think if the president even tries to reach out for Kim, I think it [there] will be a great possibility things can happen,” Rodman told “Good Morning Britain.”
“If Donald Trump [and Kim], they can sit down and have some type of mutual conversation – they [sic] don’t even have to be like a friendship conversation, just like a mutual conversation – saying, ‘Hi, I would love to have to engage in some words in politics and over the history of your country and my country,’ and try to start some dialogue, maybe that will open the door just a little bit.”
But Trump is unlikely to heed Rodman’s advice. Last week, the US president tweeted his views on resolving the North Korea issue: “Talking is not the answer!“
Rodman also claimed to have invited Obama to meet Kim, to no avail. “Obama shut me down,” he told “Good Morning Britain.”
- REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Rodman is believed to have visited North Korea at least five times.
“I basically hang out with him all the time,” Rodman told “Good Morning Britain.” “We laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together. We ride horses, we go skiing. We hardly talk about politics, and that’s the good thing about that,” he said.
Rodman insisted, repeatedly throughout the interview, that he wasn’t an apologist for North Korea.
“I’m not defending him, I’m not defending the country,” he explained. “For me to see him gives me a different view about the country, because I see it.
“A lot of people will see all the negativity about him [Kim] because [when] a lot of people in America see him on TV, you never see him talk. You just hear what you think he’s saying.”
- KCNA via Reuters
Rodman also professed his support for Trump, whom he endorsed for president two years ago. “I love Donald Trump. I thank Donald Trump for giving me an opportunity to be on his show [“Celebrity Apprentice”], an opportunity to be his friend, and an opportunity to be an American,” he said.
Rodman, who called himself an “ambassador for sports” to North Korea, also took credit for the release of 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier, back to the US this June.
Both Warmbier’s father and the US State Department said Rodman had nothing to do with Warmbier’s release. The student died in a coma days after his return home.