Dennis Rodman defends North Korea in defiant CNN interview
BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief January 7, 2014 9:30AM
Updated: January 8, 2014 7:10AM
WASHINGTON–Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman in an angry, defiant interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday defended North Korea and his so-called basketball diplomacy.
Rodman, in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, became increasingly agitated at Cuomo, co-host of CNN’s “New Day” during the explosive interview, where he was flanked by a group of former NBA players. Rodman said his controversial trip to a nation led by a brutal regime was a “great idea for the world.”
From CNN.com: “Rodman reacted angrily when pressed on whether the group should have traveled there given recent events in the secretive country. …The trip takes place just weeks after North Korea shocked the world by announcing the purge and execution of Kim’s once-powerful uncle. There are also concerns for the welfare of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, who’s been detained there for more than a year.”
The U.S. government said Rodman’s travels to Korea takes the focus off North Korean leader’s Kim Jong Un brutal regime.
Rodman plans a Jan. 8 exhibition game as a “birthday present” to Kim Jong Un, who Rodman has called his friend.
“As a diplomat , he is a good basketball player, but ultimately our focus should be on the suffering of the people of North Korea at the hands of the regime,” State Department Spokesman Jen Psaki told me in an e-mail.