Former basketball star Dennis Rodman to return to North Korea for visit

December 17, 2013 02:34

Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea for a third time on Thursday, despite political tension surrounding the execution of leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, trip organizers said.

"It's certainly safe, even when there is a bit of disruption like there is now - a bit of trouble or chaos - there's even more need for cultural or sporting exchanges," said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has arranged the trip.

Rodman has visited Pyongyang on two other occasions, during which he spent time dining as a guest of Kim Jong Un, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

In Washington, a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, sought to distance the US government from Rodman's visit.

"We have not been contacted by Mr. Rodman about his trip to North Korea," said the official. "The State Department does not vet US citizens' private travel to the DPRK."

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