CNN's Karl Penhaul reports on Dennis Rodman and the NBA old timers heading to North Korea for a basketball game.
Former basketball player Dennis Rodman is returning to North Korea and this time he is bringing a dozen of his friends from the NBA. The flamboyant US sportsman is taking part in an exhibition game in the secretive state in what he has called "basketball diplomacy".
Dennis Rodman (C) is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport to leave for Pyongyang
Dennis Rodman show off one of his holiday snaps from a previous visit in which he is seen with Kim Jong-un
Rodman told reports at Beijing Capital International Airport:
It's about trying to connect two countries together in the world, to let people know that: Do you know what? Not every country in the world is that bad, especially North Korea. People say so many negative things about North Korea. And I want people in the world to see it's not that bad.
In an exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN's "New Day" from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, Rodman reacted angrily when pressed on whether the group should have traveled there given recent events in the secretive country.
Growing angry with Cuomo and jabbing his finger toward the camera for emphasis, Rodman said, "Kenneth Bae did one thing ... If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? ... I would love to speak on this. You know, you've got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, they've left their families, they've left their damn families, to help this country, as in a sports venture. That's 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that? Christmas, New Year's ...I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them ... they dared to do one thing, they came here."
Former basketball star Dennis Rodman plays one-on-one with a North Korean player during a practice session in Pyongyang, North Korea, on December 20, 2013.
Fellow player Charles D. Smith tried to calm the discussion but Rodman carried on, becoming increasingly agitated.
"Ain't no shill ... let me do this," he said to Smith, shaking his hand from his arm. Addressing Cuomo, he continued, "Really? Really? I want to tell you one thing. People round the world, around the world, I wanna do one thing. You're the guy behind the mic right now. We're the guys here doing one thing. We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse that we're gonna take? Do you sir, are you going to take the abuse? One day, one day, this door is going to open because these 10 guys here, all of us, Christie, Vin, Dennis, Charles, ... I mean everybody here, if we could open the door just a little bit for people to come here and do one thing."
Terri Chung, sister of Kenneth Bae, says she was "shocked and appalled" that Dennis Rodman didn't support her brother.
Born in South Korea, Bae immigrated at age 16 to the United States with parents, his mother told CNN. The 44-year-old Bae, of Lynwood, Washington, moved to China in 2005. A year later he established "Nations Tour," a China-based tour company that specialized in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a web site established by friends to promote his release.
Described by his sister, Terri Chung, as a devout Christian, Bae is married and the father of three children. Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the web site said. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism." Bae had guided at least 15 tour groups, mostly made up of Americans and Canadians, into North Korea at the time of this arrest, his family has said.
Anderson Cooper talks to journalist Laura Ling, who was held captive in North Korea, about Dennis Rodman's trip.
Vice President Al Gore hugs Laura Ling as Euna Lee greets President Bill Clinton upon their arrival in California on Aug. 5, 2009. Following a meeting in Pyongyang with Clinton, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned Ling and Lee, allowing them to return to the U.S.