Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is asking President Donald Trump to let him lead a diplomatic mission to North Korea, believing he can make progress with communist dictator Kim Jong Un.
“I’ve been trying to tell Donald since day one: ‘Come talk to me, man,'” Rodman told the Guardian. “I’ll tell you what the Marshal wants more than anything. It’s not even that much.’”
“If I can go back over there,” Rodman said, “you’ll see me talking to him, and sitting down and having dinner, a glass of wine, laughing and doing my thing,” he added. “I guess things will settle down a bit and everybody can rest at ease.”
Rodman traveled to North Korea on several occasions and seems to have developed a close relationship with Kim. Rodman’s last visit was in June and he claims to have spoken to Kim on behalf of Otto Warmbier, an American citizen who was imprisoned and tortured in North Korea. Warmbier died shortly after arriving back in the United States.
Rodman said he wants to organize a basketball game between Guam, a U.S. territory, and North Korea.
“The people in Guam are all about it,” Rodman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “They love it. You get a team from North Korea, get these guys from Pyongyang. Play it in Beijing.”
Rodman traveled to North Korea at least five times. The United States banned its citizens from traveling to North Korea on Sept. 1, shortly after Warmbier died. As a result, Rodman’s sixth trip was recently thwarted as he attempted to travel to Pyongyang from Beijing.
“Basically they said it’s not a good time right now,” Rodman told the Guardian.“I think a lot of people around the world want me to go just to see if I can do something.”
Trump has not recently commented on Rodman’s trip to North Korea, but in 2013 said that the trip was “smart,” Politico reported.
“It’s not an act. But he’s a much different guy and this year on the Apprentice—it’s amazing how sharp and smart. Dennis is not a stupid guy,” Trump said on Fox News in 2013, according to Politico. “He’s smart in many ways; he’s very street-wise.”
Since his election, President Trump has spearheaded a global effort to thwart North Korea’s quest for a nuclear weapon capable of striking the United States by issuing several rounds of sanctions. Trump also issued several firm warnings to the communist regime, asserting that the United States would completely destroy North Korea if it endangered the United States or its allies.
Pyongyang has so far remained undeterred by the sanctions and threats, launching several intercontinental ballistic missiles and carrying out an underground test for what it claimed to be a hydrogen bomb.
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