North Korea

Dennis Rodman sorry for birthday visit with Kim Jong-un

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 1:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 9:03am

Dennis Rodman appeared to break down yesterday as he apologised on his return from a controversial trip to North Korea, where he sang Happy Birthday to regime leader Kim Jong-un.

The former NBA star was widely criticised for refusing to bring up human-rights abuses or the plight of a US missionary detained in North Korea during his week-long visit.

Rodman was also accused of pandering to North Korean authorities during the trip, which featured an exhibition basketball match with other NBA stars.

"I am sorry. I am not the president. I am not an ambassador. I am Dennis Rodman. Just an individual, just showing the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day," Rodman said, before his voice broke and he put his hands to his face.

Rodman has developed an unlikely relationship with Kim since making his first trip to the North last February, when he declared Kim a "friend for life".

The former Chicago Bulls star was asked yesterday whether he raised the issue of Kenneth Bae, who was detained by North Korean authorities in 2012.

"I'm sorry I couldn't do anything," Rodman said.

North Korea, which bans proselytising, says Bae is a Christian evangelist who brought in "inflammatory" material.

Watch: Rodman 'sorry' after controversial North Korea trip