Two North Korean officials have confirmed that NBA Hall of Famer and former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Dennis Rodman will arrive in their country Tuesday. His visit comes as tensions continue to escalate between Washington and Pyongyang, which is currently holding four Americans in detention.
The purpose of Rodman’s visit to North Korea is unclear. Both he and the North Korean officials interviewed by CNN have not disclosed any details about the visit.
— PotCoin (@PotCoin) June 13, 2017
Rodman—one of few Americans to have met current North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un—has visited the country at least four times, with three of the visits taking place between 2013 and 2014.
According to a senior official at the US State Department, Rodman is not visiting North Korea in an official capacity.
Prior to his newfound political career, President Trump lauded one of Rodman’s 2013 visits to North Korea in a Fox News interview. Rodman, who was a contestant on Trump’s reality television show in 2009 and again in 2013, endorsed Trump’s candidacy in 2015.
Relations between North Korea and the United States have deteriorated since 2013, with tensions rising in recent months.
North Korea has tested 16 missiles in 2017. Experts claim that each test marks progress toward the Pyongyang’s goal of developing a nuclear-armed weapon capable of reaching the United States.
North Korea believes that Washington intends to overthrow the Kim regime, and that its missile program will serve as a deterrent to any attempt by the Trump administration to achieve that goal.
In May, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied that charge, claiming that the US is only seeking denuclearization.
Trump posted a tweet in May noting that North Korea is “looking for trouble” and urging China to intervene. “If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.” Trump added.
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