N Korea leader hopes Rodman's visit will ease US tensions

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman. (AFP)

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman. (AFP)

On Thursday evening the retired basketball player was seen watching a basketball exhibition game with North Korea's leader.

"Although relations between the two countries [US and North Korea] are regrettable, personally I am a friend of Marshal Kim Jong-un and the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] people," Rodman told media after the game.

Retired US basketball player Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to film a television documentary to be aired on HBO in April with representatives of the Harlem Globetrotters celebrity team, North Korea's state television reported.

Rodman, now 51 years old, won five NBA championships in his prime, achieving a mix of fame and notoriety for his on- and off-court antics.

North Korea's 32-year-old leader Kim, who has launched two long-range rockets and carried out a nuclear weapons test during just over a year in power, is reported to be an avid NBA fan and had pictures taken with players from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during his school days in Switzerland.

"It's true, I'm in North Korea. Looking forward to sitting down with Kim Jung Un. I love the people of North Korea.
#WORMinNorthKorea," tweeted Rodman on Tuesday.

Mixing up his Koreas
Rodman, who sports trademark tattoos and piercings, played for the Bulls. The trip to Pyongyang was organised by the New York-based television production company VICE.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Rodman mixed up his Koreas after tweeting that he expected to run into South Korea's rapper Psy on his trip to the North.

"Maybe I'll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I'm here," Rodman tweeted after his arrival.

VICE, which has previously worked in North Korea, said the week-long trip would include running a basketball camp for North Korean children and engaging in community-based games.

A day before Rodman arrived an Associated Press journalist sent what she thought to be the first tweet using North Korea's new 3G mobile data service.

This communications breakthrough meant that it was possible to follow in real time much of what Rodman was getting up to, from the moment he landed in Pyongyang.  – Reuters; Guardian News and Media 2013

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