World

Dennis Rodman's Take On The North Korean Regime

NPR | March 4, 2013 8:06 a.m.

Contributed By:

Scott Neuman

If former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s read on Kim Jong Un is correct, the CIA and State Department may be in need of a major overhaul in their assessments of the North Korean leader.

Rodman, the only American to have met and talked with Kim, appeared on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos to talk about his two-day visit to North Korea last week.

After his heady, whirlwind trip, Rodman effused: “I love the guy. He’s awesome. He’s so honest.”

Stephanopoulos asked if Rodman was aware that Kim has threatened to destroy the United States and of the North Korean regime’s terrible human rights.

“I hate the fact that he’s doing it but the fact is, you know what, as a human being though, he let his guard down. He did it one day to me. I didn’t talk about that. I understand that,” Rodman said.

“What I saw in that country … I saw that people respect him and his family,” he said.

Stephanopoulos: “But aren’t they forced to?”

Rodman: “Well, I say no, because I think he’s going to change something because his is a different view, because I sat with him for two days and … he wanted Obama to do one thing – [to] call him.”

Stephanopoulos: “He wants a call from President Obama?

Rodman: “That’s right. He told me that. He said ‘if you can, Dennis, I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

Kim loves basketball, Obama loves basketball, “Let’s start there,” he suggested.

Stephanopoulos conceded it was “one tiny part of common ground,” but pressed the former basketball star on whether he saw anything to suggest Kim was looking for a change in relations with the U.S.

“One thing I noticed about him – he’s very humble. Very humble,” Rodman replied. “He’s very strong as a man, very strong. But, guess what, he doesn’t want war.”

But what about his threats to destroy the U.S.?

“Well, I think that’s coming from his father,” Rodman said. “I think as a young man, he don’t want anything [like] that. He loves power, he loves control, because of his Dad and stuff like that. He’s a great guy, he’s just a great guy if you sit down and talk to him.”

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