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Dennis Rodman Visits North Korea For ‘Basketball Diplomacy’

An unlikely diplomat made his way to North Korea this week, convinced that he can help soothe the relationship between the communist state and the U.S. by way of basketball. Along with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters, Dennis Rodman is visiting the country this week, despite growing international tensions over North Korea’s ongoing nuclear tests. Promotion company Vice Media is funding the trip, which will be included in an upcoming HBO documentary.

“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to the DPRK strange? In a word, yes,” Vice Media founder Shane Smith said. “But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing.”

The American players will play with North Korea’s basketball team, and plans on running a camp for children in the nation’s capital, Pyongyang. Rodman’s agent told the Associated Press, that the star views the trip as an opportunity to speak with North Korean head of state, Kim Jong Eun.

“When I discussed with Dennis the invite to go to North Korea and meet with Kim Jong and the Korean national basketball team as part of a documentary for HBO, he knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a fun shoot around playing basketball and would give him the chance to speak directly to Kim Jong that the only way to go is with peace not war.”

Despite Rodman’s hopes for peace, the North Korean government has shown no interest in diplomacy. A statement released Tuesday called the U.S. a rabid dog, and threatened retaliation should America and South Korea take action against the country.

“The enemies are dazed by the mettle of the DPRK, which has risen to be a full-fledged nuclear state and a satellite-launching state,” a translated statement from the Korea News Service read. “If they hurt the dignity of the DPRK even a bit, we will never miss this chance to achieve the cause of the national reunification by dint of military strength.”

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