Smart diplomacy, or something.
Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman is due to make a return trip to North Korea this week despite recent political upheaval in that country that culminated in the execution of ruler Kim Jong Un’s uncle for alleged treason.
A spokesman for Irish online betting website Paddy Power, the trip’s sponsor, told the New York Times Tuesday that Rodman was due to arrive in Beijing later in the day before traveling to North Korea on Thursday with a documentary film crew in tow. The spokesman told the Times that Rodman was due to stay in North Korea until next Monday.
The State Department has long advised Americans not to travel to North Korea, a warning that was restated earlier this month after 85-year-old Merrill Newman, a Korean War veteran who had traveled to the North as a tourist, was released by Pyongyang after being detained for more than a month and forced to read a “confession” of alleged crimes he committed during the 1950-53 conflict.
Likewise, Kenneth Bae, an American missionary convicted of hostile acts against North Korea due to his surreptitious work there, is serving a 15-year sentence of hard labor, despite calls from the State Department and Bae’s family for his release.
Perhaps when the Worm returns from his visit, he can educate John Kerry.