Dennis Rodman announces North Korean vacation; Kim Jong Un threatens to 'wipe out' island - Macleans.ca

Dennis Rodman announces North Korean vacation; Kim Jong Un threatens to ‘wipe out’ island

‘He’s my friend,’ Rodman says of North Korean dictator

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Dennis Rodman is surrounded by journalists upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (Kim Kwang Hyon/AP)

Retired Chicago Bulls basketball player Dennis Rodman told a U.S. television station that he is planning a summer vacation in North Korea, just as leader Kim Jong Un says he is ready to blow up an island belonging to South Korea.

Rodman had cancelled most media appearances in the U.S. after his “basketball diplomacy” mission to North Korea in February — ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked him difficult questions during his first interview — but he made a publicity appearance in Fargo, North Dakota Monday, where local television station KXJB talked to the star.

In addition to divulging his plans for summer vacation, Rodman used the word “amazing” multiple times to describe his trip to North Korea and said that Kim wasn’t such a bad guy. “I mean, I don’t condone what he does, but he’s my friend,” Rodman told KXJB. “But I think that his grandfather and his father built this whole thing up because he has to do this. He don’t want to do anything. That’s what I know, this is just amazing, man…”

Rodman went on to say that Kim “doesn’t want to fight.”

Meanwhile Tuesday, North Korean state media quoted Kim as using some of his harshest language yet, telling troops that they should be ready to “wipe out” Baengnyeong island, which belongs to South Korea and is just off the North Korean shoreline. State media also quoted Kim as telling troops that they should be ready to attack, “breaking their waists and completely cutting their strings of life.”

Kim says he has cancelled the armistice that ended fighting during the Korean War. He has been visiting troops stationed near the border with South Korea, telling them to prepare because “war can break out right now.”

South Korea has tried to smooth things over, reports BBC News, by saying that Kim is not legally able to unilaterally break the armistice that ended fighting in 1953. The UN has backed up this position. South Korea also wants North Korea to take back those things it keeps saying. “We demand North Korea withdraw remarks threatening stability and peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region,” said South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young.

If Kim changes his position that he “doesn’t want to fight” and decides that he does, indeed, want to fight by restarting the Korean War, Rodman might want to rethink those summer vacation plans.

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