Former NBA Star Raises Eyebrows With His Gift To North Korean Minister

Kim Jong Un, the 33-year-old supreme leader of North Korea, continues to be a thorn in the side of the U.S. and its Asia-Pacific allies, refusing to back down on his country’s contentious nuclear weapons program and continuing to launch provocative missile tests close to Japan and South Korea. As diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea flounder, an unlikely representative has come forward to reach out to the North Korean government and people.

Dennis Rodman, an ex-Chicago Bulls player and member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame, is currently touring North Korea in an unofficial capacity. However, although Rodman isn’t in Pyongyang on White House business, the former basketball star hasn’t been afraid to make political statements and gestures, recently presenting North Korea’s Sports Minister, Kim II Guk, with an unsigned copy of Donald Trump’s book ‘The Art of the Deal’. Donald Trump released the book in 1987 and it details the president’s business mantras and personal success strategies. At this stage, it is believed that Rodman gave the book to Kim II Guk on the condition that it was given to Kim Jong Un at a later date.

Dennis Rodman has visited North Korea five times and views Kim Jong Un as an “eternal friend”. On his last visit to Pyongyang in 2014, Rodman allegedly sang happy birthday to Kim Jong Un and has repeatedly declared that the supreme leader is a “friend for life” and an “awesome guy.” Along with President Trump’s best-selling book, Rodman is believed to have given Kim II Guk several other gifts, including 2 autographed basketball jerseys, a mermaid puzzle, ‘The Totally Essential Travel Collection’, some scented soap and a ‘Where’s Waldo’ children’s book.

It remains unclear how much President Trump knows about Rodman’s trip to North Korea as the White House has declined to comment. In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Rodman publicly endorsed the candidacy of Donald Trump, tweeting: “@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016.”

North Korea’s Sport Minister was not short on praise for the former basketball star, referencing Rodman’s repeated trips to the country and friendship with Kim Jong Un by saying: “In the past, our respected supreme leader met you several times and he used his precious time to watch the basketball match with the players you brought here…In the past he met you, so our people all know you well…And also we feel that you are an old friend.”

Rodman, who appeared on Donald Trump’s TV program ‘Celebrity Apprentice’, praised North Korea and its people, telling Kim II Guk that “All of you guys should be proud of yourselves, because, you know, a lot of people don’t give you guys credit, because this is such a small country, and not many people from North Korea can compete around the world…But for you guys to come back here in your country, with a medal, that says a lot about North Korea, because people don’t really take North Korea so seriously about sports or anything like that.”

Several hours before Rodman landed in Pyongyang, North Korea released a young U.S. student named Otto Warmbier. Mr. Warmbier had been held captive in North Korea for 17 months and is believed to have suffered a brain injury, with his father, Fred, telling the media that his son had been “brutalized” by his captors.

Source: New York Post
Photo: YouTube

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