Newspaper article International New York Times

Ex-Basketball Star Heads to North Korea

Newspaper article International New York Times

Ex-Basketball Star Heads to North Korea

Article excerpt

The former N.B.A. player still plans to help train the country's basketball stars, the Irish online betting company sponsoring the visit said Tuesday.

Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea to help train the country's basketball stars has not been disrupted by the political convulsions there, notably the execution of the leader's uncle last week on charges of treason and debauchery, the Irish online betting company sponsoring the visit said Tuesday.

Mr. Rodman, who won five N.B.A. championships with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, was to arrive in Beijing later in the day and then travel to North Korea on Thursday with a documentary film crew, Rory Scott, a spokesman for the company, Paddy Power of Dublin, said by telephone from Beijing. Mr. Scott said they would leave North Korea on Monday.

"We spoke to a lot of experts who said it's safe for foreigners to travel to North Korea," he said.

Mr. Rodman visited North Korea this past winter and befriended its leader, Kim Jong-un, 30, a fan of American basketball. Mr. Rodman was one of the first Westerners to meet Mr. Kim after he took power two years ago upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

The plan for Mr. Rodman to make another visit had been made before the abrupt change in North Korea's leadership, culminating in the announcement last Thursday that Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, who had long been considered the No.2 leader, had been executed over accusations that included plotting a coup, womanizing, gambling and drug abuse.

Mr. Jang's abrupt downfall and the unusual publicity given to it by the secretive North Korean government have created intense speculation about a political power struggle that could make the hermetic country more unstable and unpredictable.

The United States, which has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, had already advised that no Americans should travel there after the arrest of an 85-year-old Korean War veteran who visited North Korea in October. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.