Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman recently opened up to CNN about his latest visit to North Korea in January, testifying that Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was suspected to have been executed on charges of treason in December of last year, was both alive and attending public events with the dictator during his visit.
Controversy has surrounded Dennis Rodman's unlikely friendship with dictator Kim Jong Un for quite some time, with many unable to understand why Rodman would want to befriend a man infamous for ruthlessly suppressing the North Korean people. The former professional basketball player, who has visited North Korea four times, still has good things to say about the country's leader, however.
The people of North Korea are commanded to worship Kim Jong Un as the leader of their country, and show public displays of adoration for the man when he makes appearances - "I was just so amazed just to see the people crying - literally crying," Rodman said of the spectacle when Kim entered the basketball arena for his birthday exhibition game. Anyone practicing another religion faces the risk of being publicly executed - in fact, Kim recently sentenced 33 Christians to death for starting underground churches in the country.
Rodman claims that Kim's uncle Jang Song Thaek was alive when he visited the country in January, one month after the elderly man was reported to have been executed. "That's his girlfriend, that's his uncle, that's his sister - they're standing right behind me," Rodman told the CNN reporter. The North Korean regime had publicly announced that Kim's uncle had been sentenced to death on charges of trying to overthrow the government, and multiple news sources had reported that his uncle had been publicly executed in December along with his direct relatives in the secretive country.
The former basketball player also delved into more details about his relationship with the dictator, which seems to be quite friendly. He claims to have held Kim's baby, and though he admits that he was drinking heavily during the trip, he seems to have enjoyed his time with Kim. "He laughs, jokes ... man loves playing basketball, loves playing table tennis, he loves playing pool," Rodman told reporters. Kim also reportedly has a 13-piece band in lieu of a Karaoke machine.
Rodman also claims that Kim would like to have more relations with Americans. "He really, really wants to talk to Obama," Rodman said - "He can't say it enough ... He say he don't want to bomb nobody - that he don't want to kill Americans."
According to the Huffington Post, North Korea has been conducting tests for ballistic missiles which could potentially carry nuclear weapons as far as the United States. The dictator has threatened to instigate a war with America numerous times in the past, and President Obama has warned the country that the American military is prepared to defend itself against any North Korean aggression.