Rodman back from North Korea but fails to meet leader Kim

Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:30am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman returned on Monday from a four-day trip to isolated North Korea saying he was not concerned that he had not met leader Kim Jong Un and he would "see him again".

This was Rodman's third trip to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. Previously, he spent time dining as a guest of Kim, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

An entourage of burly men pushed their way through a scrum of journalists waiting for Rodman at Beijing airport. Rodman answered only a few of the questions thrown at him on the run.

Asked whether he was disappointed not to see Kim this time around, Rodman said: "Nope, I don't worry about it, I will see him again".

Rodman said before leaving he was going to provide North Korea's national basketball team with four days of training during the trip.

"It was awesome, man," he said of the training he conducted.

Rodman intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball games on Kim's birthday.

"We're going to be playing in two weeks," he said.

Rodman's latest visit follows the rare public purge of Kim's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was executed this month.   Continued...

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks to the media after returning from his trip to North Korea at Beijing airport, December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee