Dennis Rodman back to N Korea to 'open doors'

  • 13/06/2017
Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman
Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman. Photo credit: Getty / file

Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman says he's going to North Korea to try to open a door.

He told reporters at Beijing airport on Tuesday that he believes US President Donald Trump is happy with his visit "to accomplish something we both need".

Rodman has travelled to North Korea before, though he has been criticised for comments he made on previous trips.

Asked if he would talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about several Americans detained there, he said: "That's not my purpose right now."

Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon told reporters in Tokyo that the US has issued travel warnings to Americans suggesting they not travel to North Korea for their own safety.

Rodman is one of the only Americans to have met Kim Jong-un and will arrive at a time of high tension between North Korea and the US, as Pyongyang seeks to expand its nuclear weapons program.

During a visit in 2014, the eccentric five-time NBA champion sang 'Happy Birthday' to Kim Jong-un at a Pyongyang stadium and then walked forward and bowed to the hardline leader.