Former NBA Star Dennis Rodman to Return to N Korea

Former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman is expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday for a trip the State Department said was not an official USA visit, CNN reported on Monday. When asked if he planned to raise their detention with North Korean officials, Rodman said: "Well that's not my objective right now".

Rodman was mobbed by journalists when he arrived at Beijing's airport on Tuesday to catch a flight for the North Korean capital.

Despite repeated missile threats, United Nations sanctions, a horrendous human rights record and a determination to remain detached from the global community, North Korea could share hosting duties under the new proposal. The U.S. State Department said it is not an official visit.

Officials from North Korea confirmed to CNN that Rodman is expected in Pyongyang Tuesday but declined comments on the objective of the visit.

Trump, who had the basketballer on his "Celebrity Apprentice" show twice, has recently called Kim a "smart cookie" and has said he would be "honored" to meet him. Rodman returns to North Korea at a time of great tension between Washington and Pyongyang, as four Americans are now being held in the Asian country.

North Korea believes its missile programme is the only way to deter Washington from trying to overthrow the Kim Jong-un regime. It also comes as four Americans are being held in North Korea.

The former Chicago Bull had discussed his trips to North Korea with Trump before the businessman was elected president, according to associates of Rodman.

Rodman was lambasted on previous trips for refusing to pursue the case of an American, Kenneth Bae, who was being held in North Korea at the time.

At the start of the exhibition game, Rodman sang "Happy Birthday" to Kim, who was seated in the arena, and bowed deeply as the North Korean players clapped.

A foreign ministry official who spoke to the AP in Pyongyang confirmed Rodman was expected to arrive on Tuesday but could not provide details. "He told me, 'I would love to come to America to go to a New York Knicks game.' He actually said that to me", Rodman recalled.

"Dennis Rodman is a private citizen". Rodman also endorsed Trump for president in 2015.

North Korea has launched 16 missile tests so far this year with the aim of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the U.S.

According to a piece made by Joshua Berlinger, Elise Labott, Nicole Gaouette, Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Matt Rivers of CNN, the eccentric former National Basketball Association player has been spotted at the Beijing International Airport but refused to give details about his visit amid tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. He's made several visits to the country, but has been roundly criticized for insensitive comments and for regaling Kim with "Happy Birthday" in 2014.

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