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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Rodman shuns geopolitics; won’t risk friendship with Kim

At least one of Dennis Rodman's previous trips to N. Korea was

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Dennis Rodman, whose infamous bromance with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un has made his name synonymous with the hermit kingdom, has been oddly touted to play a key role in averting Armageddon through “basketball diplomacy,” but the NBA legend declines to carry the burden of geopolitics.

“I can’t do that,” Rodman said when asked if he would be willing to mediate between the U.S. and North Korea. “I can’t sit there and talk to (Kim) as a politician. Our relationship is based on sports and I don’t want to ruin that connection. I think he likes me so much because I don’t do that.”

Rodman is on Guam — the target of Pyongyang’s threat of missile attack — for what the Guam Visitors Bureau described as a “goodwill visit.” He held a press conference for the local media at the Hilton Resort and Spa, garbed in sunglasses and a "" T-shirt showing his own image sandwiched between Kim and US President Donald Trump. He had his signature piercings and orange-dyed hair concealed under a cap.

His visit to Guam comes amid the worsening friction between the U.S. and North Korea triggered by Pyongyang’s growing nuclear weapons program and Kim’s saber rattling.

Tension reached its height in August when President Donald Trump vowed to respond to North Korea with “fire and fury” if it makes any more threats to attack the United States.

But Rodman shrugged off the nuclear wrangling as a sport between “two big kids” who are in a contest for “who is the toughest.”

While reluctant to take on the role as the peace envoy for Pyongyang, Rodman suggested that the conflict be resolved through a dialog.

“Why not unite— that’s what President Trump said about America. It doesn’t hurt to try to open the door and try to have some communication,” Rodman said, taking a pause as he choked back tears. “It sucks; we can’t get along. It’s the 22nd century, man.”

Rodman is a frequent visitor of North Korea, where he has proudly socialized with Kim, drawing criticisms for participating in what Americans consider a propaganda stunt, designed to humanize one of the world’s most notorious tyrants. In 2014, Rodman drew harsh criticism by suggesting that North Korea had a valid reason to keep American missionary Kenneth Bae locked up.

Rodman, who has since made five trips to North Korea, resented being depicted as “the bad guy,” stressing that his cordial association with Kim is strictly based on sports.

“Kim and I, we always talked about basketball— nothing about Americans against North Korea,” he said, claiming Kim is averse to war. “I never heard him say about bombing the world. He never said that in my face. I don’t think anyone is rooting for anyone to die. I’m all about saving everyone in the world.”

Rodman is also friends with Trump, making him the common denominator between the two hot-headed leaders who are threatening to set the world for a nuclear holocaust. He said he has offered to share information about Kim with Trump.

“I know a lot of things that you don’t know,” Rodman said, recounting a conversation with Trump. “One day if you want to listen to things, call me and we’ll talk about it.”

In yet another bid to humanize Kim, Rodman described North Korea’s leader as just a regular person who “wants to go to New York,” and suggested he had a lighter touch than his late father. “He smiles more than his father— his father was anti-anti.”

Rodman chuckled when journalists quipped he should stay on Guam to keep Kim from pushing the button.

Guam media--both from the news and sports desks, showed up in force for Rodman's news conference at the Hilton Hotel


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