Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea


Dennis Rodman mobbed by the press en route to PyongyangImage copyright

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Dennis Rodman was mobbed by the press at Beijing airport en route to Pyongyang

Controversial US basketball star Dennis Rodman is returning for a visit to North Korea.

The former NBA player is travelling as a private citizen.

“I’m just trying to open the door,” he told reporters at Beijing airport, en route to the reclusive state.

He made headlines after befriending North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on previous trips to Pyongyang in 2013 and 2014. Mr Rodman has called him his “friend for life“.

The US state department said it is aware of his visit.

“We wish him well. But we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety,” said US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, according to Reuters news agency.

“My purpose is to actually to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that’s the main thing,” Mr Rodman told reporters.

It is unclear whether he will also bring up the detention of US citizens in the country.

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AFP / Getty Images

Image caption

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and Dennis Rodman watching a basketball game in Pyongyang in 2013