Dec. 23 - Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman returns from his latest trip to Pyongyang, where he said he did not meet his friend Kim Jong Un. Rough Cut (No Reporter Narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman returned on Monday (December 23) from his most recent trip to North Korea, where he said he did not meet his "friend" Kim Jong Un. Rodman has visited Pyongyang twice before, spending time dining as a guest of Kim, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship. "No, I don't worry about it, I will see him again," said Rodman upon his arrival at the Beijing airport when asked if he was disappointed that he didn't see Kim. Referring to the North Korean basketball team he coached during his stay in Pyongyang he said: "It was awesome, man. We're going to be playing in two weeks. We're going to be playing in two weeks." Rodman intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball games on Kim's birthday. His latest visit followed the rare public purge of Kim's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was executed last week. Ahead of the trip, Seoul-based North Korean human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk said in an open letter in the Washington Post that Rodman should talk to Kim about human rights abuses in North Korea. Rodman said it was not his place to talk about such issues. Rodman's previous visit in February came shortly after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. resolutions. Rodman said upon his return from that trip that Kim wanted to receive a call from Obama, an avid basketball fan. The White House has said the United States has direct channels of communication with North Korea and declined to respond directly to Rodman's message that Kim hoped to hear from Obama after his last visit. The U.S. State Department has sought to distance the U.S. government from Rodman's visit. Rodman's trip was arranged by Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has a history of controversial advertising campaigns.