- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
As if Dennis Rodman calling Kim Jong Un an “awesome guy” whose people “love him” wasn’t enough to stoke outrage about the former NBA star’s utterly bizarre visit to North Korea this week, North Korean television is now running images of Rodman bowing to North Korea’s new leader. Here’s a still, which appears at 6:16 in this report:
According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Rodman’s visit included not only a basketball game and an “amicable” dinner with Kim Jong Un, but also a stop at “the halls which house cars, an electric car, a boat and train coaches used by [Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il] during their field guidance and foreign trips till the last moments of their lives,” and a visit to the Rungna Dolphinarium, where Rodman and his entourage “spent a good time watching dolphins dancing to the tune of cheerful music, jumping in group, spinning rings, jumping into the air and shaking hands with people.” (The photo below shows Rodman and some Harlem Globetrotters touring another monument in the capital.)
As he was leaving North Korea on Friday, Rodman told reporters that “Kim Jong Un is like his grandfather and his father, who are greater leaders.” Kim “is an awesome kid,” he added, “very honest and loves his wife so much.” Here’s footage of Rodman’s impromptu press conference:
For those people worrying that Rodman’s visit has only emboldened North Korea’s repressive leader, consider this: Yes, the NBA star bowed to Kim Jong Un. But he also referred to the head of a nuclear power as an “awesome kid.”
(h/t: Adam Cathcart)