Dennis Rodman puts a name to Kim Jong-un’s daughter
Dennis Rodman taking ex-NBA players to North Korea for exhibition games
Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman revealed the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's baby daughter, before announcing plans to return to North Korea with a team of former NBA players.
Rodman visited North Korea last week, his second trip to the country. Meeting reporters after returning to China on Saturday, Rodman professed his affection for Kim.
On Sunday, Rodman told British newspaper The Guardian that he and Kim had a "relaxing time by the sea" with the leader's family and discussed holding a historic friendship basketball game between the US and North Korea.
"I held their baby Ju-Ae and spoke with [Kim's wife] as well. He's a good dad and has a beautiful family," Rodman said.
After his previous trip in February, Rodman said in a media interview that Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, kept talking about her and Kim's baby daughter.
It was a confirmation of media speculation that there was a new baby in North Korea's ruling family after state television broadcast video of Ri in January in which she appeared slimmer than in previous months, when she looked pregnant.
Rodman revealed yesterday that he now planned to stage two exhibition games in North Korea in January.
Touting his friendship with Kim and criticising US President Barack Obama for not talking to him, Rodman said he would go back to North Korea in December to help select local players for the game. He hopes to have stars such as former Chicago teammate Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone play.
Rodman said Kim had asked him to train his players to compete in the 2016 Olympics and offered to allow the Hall of Famer to write a book about him.
"Kim is a great guy, he loves basketball and he's interested in building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges," he said.
Rodman's recent North Korea trip came amid signs of easing tension on the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang seeking to restart dormant co-operation projects with Seoul.
But the country last month withdrew its invitation to a US envoy to visit the country to secure the freedom of Kenneth Bae, a missionary who has been detained in North Korea since November on charges of committing hostile acts. North Korea said it cancelled the invitation because of the alleged mobilisation of US bombers.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse