White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday denounced Dennis Rodmanâ€™s trip to North Korea, calling the former NBA playerâ€™s appearance a publicity stunt by the Hermit Kingdomâ€™s oppressive regime.
â€śInstead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people, who have been starved, imprisoned and denied their human rights,â€ť Carney said.
Rodman, who played for the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, among others,Â visited the country last week for a basketball exhibition with the Harlem Globetrotters, toured Pyongyang and had dinner with ruling leader Kim Jong-Eun. He called Kim â€śmy friendâ€ť in an interview with NBCâ€™s â€śToday Show,â€ť and said Kim told him to tell President Obama to â€ścall him.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t want to do war,â€ť Rodman quoted Kim as telling him.
Carney said that the Â United States â€śhas direct channels of communicationsâ€ť with Pyongyang, which angered the United States and its allies by launching a nuclear test on the eve of Obamaâ€™s State of the Union address last month.
â€śWe have urged the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama's call to choose the path of peace and coming into compliance with its international obligations,â€ť Carney said. â€śNorth Korea's actions, however, directly violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.â€ť
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