Ex-NBA star Rodman heads to North Korea as private citizen

UNTV News   •   June 13, 2017   •   8533

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) watches a basketball game between former U.S. NBA basketball players and North Korean players of the Hwaebul team of the DPRK with Dennis Rodman (R) at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang January 9, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

Former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman said on Tuesday he was on his way to North Korea as a private citizen, returning to the isolated country where he has previously met leader Kim Jong Un.

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

“I’m just trying to open the door,” Rodman told reporters wearing sunglasses, a dark shirt and baseball cap, and with facial piercings.

“My purpose is to actually to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that’s the main thing,” said Rodman, who spoke quietly and was escorted through customs and immigration by two handlers.

Rodman said earlier in a tweet: “I’m back! Thanks to my sponsor www.potcoin.com.” The company bills itself as a digital crypto-currency provider for the legal marijuana industry.

Rodman added in the tweet that he would “discuss my mission upon my return to the USA.”

Tensions have heightened on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests and its vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security worry.

Rodman appeared twice on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” show before he became president and praised him on Twitter during last year’s election campaign.

“I am pretty much sure that he is happy with the fact that I am over here trying to accomplish something that we both need,” Rodman said, when asked on Tuesday if he had spoken with Trump.

TRAVEL WARNINGS

U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, speaking with reporters in Tokyo after meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s top national security adviser, said Rodman was traveling as a private citizen.

“We are aware of his visit. We wish him well. But we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety,” he said.

Four Americans are being held in North Korea, including 22-year-old student Otto Warmbier, who was detained in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for attempting to steal a propaganda banner.

The flamboyant Rodman, who has called Kim “an awesome kid,” said in an interview with CNN in 2014, his travels to North Korea would help “open the door” to the isolated nation.

The unpredictable Trump has offered some mixed messages to Kim Jong Un, saying he would be “honored” to meet him under the right conditions and once describing the young leader as “a pretty smart cookie.”

But Trump has also described Kim as a “madman with nuclear weapons” who could not be let on the loose.

The basketball Hall of Famer has faced ridicule and criticism for his trips to North Korea, which some U.S. politicians and activists view as serving only as fodder for North Korean propaganda.

Rodman, 56, nicknamed “The Worm” during his playing career and known for his tattoos, body piercings and multi-colored hair, is considered one of the best defensive players and rebounders in NBA history.

He won five league championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. — By Jake Spring and Joseph Campbell | BEIJING

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Steve Holland in Washington and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Tony Munroe and Bill Tarrant)

North Korea fires projectile; tells UN it has ‘right to test weapons’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021

North Korea on Tuesday  fired an unidentified projectile into the Sea of Japan.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato during a press conference on Tuesday confirmed that a suspected ballistic missile was launched from inland North Korea.

He said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has already released instructions in response to the launch.

“This imposes a huge threat to the safety and stability of our country and the region and it is a serious issue faced by the international community. We will continue to gather and analyze information and be fully prepared with vigilance,” Kato said.

No harm to Japanese aircraft or ships has been reported in the latest incident, he added.

The Japanese official also said that they have begun intelligence analysis and gathering to ensure the safety of their aircraft, vessels and other assets. Kato assured that Japan will take all possible precautionary measures including readiness for contingencies.

Meanwhile, North Korea reiterated at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that it has the right to test weapons.

“Nobody can deny the righteous right to self-defense for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to develop, test, manufacture and possess the weapon systems equivalent to the ones which are possessed or being developed by them [South Korea and the United States],” said Kim Song, permanent representative of the DPRK to the United Nations.

Song also urged the US to withdraw its “hostile policy” toward his country so as to “contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the world.” AAC

DFA calls on North Korea to comply with int’l obligations after ballistic missile launch

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Following the ballistic missile launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on March 25, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reiterated its call for the country to comply with international laws.

The Foreign Department, in a statement on Friday (March 31), expressed concern over DPRK’s latest ballistic missile launch saying the actions undermine regional peace and stability, not only in the Korean Peninsula, but also in the entire region.

The department said the DPRK should abide by the obligation under the resolutions set by the United Nations Security Council.

Two missiles were launched by North Korea into the sea near Japan on Thursday (March 25). AAC

Pyongyang disinfects the city after North Korea introduced tougher curbs against coronavirus

UNTV News   •   July 29, 2020

North Korea’s state-run television on Tuesday (July 28) released a video of Pyongyang workers disinfecting the city as the state introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, after it locked down the town Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.

Strict quarantine measures and the screening of districts were in progress and test kits, protective clothing and medical equipment were being supplied, the North’s KCNA state news agency said.

The measures come after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency on Sunday (July 26) after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the highly fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ) to Kaesong this month with symptoms of COVID-19, KCNA reported.

Reclusive North Korea had reported testing 1,211 people for the virus as of July 16 with all returning negative results, the World Health Organisation said in a statement sent to Reuters. The report said 696 nationals were under quarantine. (Reuters)

(Production: Minwoo Park)

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