“You have a friend for life.”
— Dennis Rodman to Kim Jong Eun after the two watched an exhibition basketball game together in Pyongyang Thursday, according to an organizer of the NBA legend’s improbable North Korean goodwill tour. No, really! A spokesman for VICE, the media company underwriting the trip, told AP that the young dictator also hosted the American delegation for a long, boozy dinner, just two weeks after conducting an underground nuclear test that has heightened tensions with the U.S.
Hard to say where this summit fits on the spectrum of U.S. celebrities shmoozing the leaders of repressive regimes (i.e., Beyonce’s private concert for the Gaddafi family; Sean Penn hanging with the Castros.) Organizers of his trip say it’s meant to “encourage openness and better relations with the outside world” — but they’re also filming it all for an HBO documentary. State Department officials aren’t commenting on the trip.
The flamboyant baller, 51, kept it conservative — black ballcap, shades, no more than two nose rings and one lip ring, a dark blazer that complemented Kim’s Mao suit. The WorldViews blog ponders what this all means., and then recalls Kim Jong Il’s attempt to get Michael Jordan to visit.