North Korea expecting visit from former NBAer Dennis Rodman

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North Korea is developing its nuclear weapons and missiles at an alarming pace with the stated goal of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

In this undated photo published on September 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea. The NBA #Hall Of Famer would be visiting Pyongyang at this tense moment between Washington and Pyongyang over the nuclear threat.

Rodman's 2013 trip came just two weeks after North Korea conducted the first of three underground nuclear tests it has done under the rule of Kim, who is openly pursuing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the USA mainland.

His trip came amid mounting tensions between the US and the North over Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear and missile programs. "Multiple people involved in unofficial talks with North Korea say that the Trump administration has been making overtures toward the Kim regime, including trying to set up a secret back channel to the North Korean leader using "an associate of Trump's" rather than the usual line-up of North Korea experts and former officials who talk to Pyongyang's representatives".

One of his previous outing was part of a pickup basketball game with other former NBA stars, something Rodman referred to as "basketball diplomacy". "I wish you success in your responsible work of building a powerful Russian Federation, of protecting its security and interests for the sake of the welfare and prosperity of your people", Kim said, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

According to the Japanese news daily, Kim Jong-nam met with a USA citizen at a hotel four days before the assassination.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied that charge last month, saying the US is only seeking denuclearization, but the Trump White House has publicly abandoned the Obama-era strategy of strategic patience. "If not, we will solve the problem without them!"

The player nicknamed "The Worm" is one of the few Westerners to have met Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011.

"We are aware of his visit". On the court he was known for his ferocious defense and rebounding ability.

Rodman has made several visits to North Korea. Rodman told Kim he has a "friend for life".

"My objective 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. But another was "strictly about the game and for the love of basketball".

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