NBA Star Rodman to Visit N. Korea on Tues

Rodman has described his series of trips to North Korea as a "basketball diplomacy" project and defended the trip for Kim's birthday in an earlier CNN interview saying it was a "great idea for the world".

"My objective is to actually to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that's the main thing", Mr Rodman told reporters.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my objective right now".

A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.

The young Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, is reported to be a keen basketball fan and especially of the Chicago Bulls, for whom Rodman played a key role in winning three NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990s.

There are fears North Korea could imminently test-fire another missile, following the pattern seen over the past few months. "They've been looking at ways to do that", Pinkston said. FILE - In this January 8, 2014, file photo, Dennis Rodman bows to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, after singing Happy Birthday to Kim before an exhibition basketball game with USA and North Ko. This will be the fifth time he will be visiting the North, the most recent coming in 2014.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have escalated.

Rodman didn't respond to CNN's questions about whether he would be meeting Kim during this trip, and wouldn't say if he was delivering a message from the US President to Pyongyang.

"If you don't ever want me to go back there again, I won't go back", Rodman said to ESPN in March.

Last time Rodman visited Kim Jong-un, it was considered really unusual.

"This visit will be judged not by who he takes with him but by who, if anyone, he brings back", said Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor.

The group traveled for a basketball exhibition that pitted the Americans against North Koreans.

"We are aware of his visit". But efforts to convince North Korea to release the men now held have not been successful so far. Pyongyang officials have confirmed the news to CNN, and Rodman is expected at the North Korean capital in a matter of hours. The tournament was the subject of the 2015 documentary "Dennis Rodman's Big Bang in Pyongyang". Kim agreed on the spot, Rodman said, and the trip eventuated with the Harlem Globetrotters appearing in Pyongyang. He and his friends, Terwilliger and Volo, are the only Americans known to have met Kim.

But he recalled how Kim said if Rodman did something for him, he could do something for Rodman.

Some of Rodman's previous interactions with Trump had been captured on television.

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