Rodman defends N. Korea trip, says Kim wants Obama call
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Flamboyant retired NBA star Dennis Rodman Sunday defended his trip to North Korea, saying leader Kim Jong-Un does not seek war but does want one thing - a call from US President Barack Obama.
Rodman, a colourful Hall of Famer who won NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and once dated Madonna, is now the most high-profile American to meet Kim, with whom he watched a basketball game last week in Pyongyang.
The visit by Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea, following Pyongyang's nuclear test last month, which sparked global condemnation.
When asked about Kim's human rights record, Rodman admitted he himself was "not a diplomat" and told ABC News: "I'm not apologising for him. (...) I don't condone what he does." But he reiterated that Kim was now a "friend." Rodman said that Kim, who took power in the isolated state after his father Kim Jong-Il died in late 2011, had told him: "'I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war.' He said that to me." "He wants Obama to do one thing - call him," Rodman said on ABC's "This Week" news program.