Rodman, the retired Chicago Bull forward on his second visit to North Korea for an exhibition basketball game, forcefully defended the trip Tuesday during an interview with CNN. But White House press secretary Jay Carney was not impressed.
"I'm not going to dignify that outburst with a response," Carney said during his daily briefing.
Carney reiterated the administration's position that the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will continue to face international economic and diplomatic sanctions until it takes steps to place its military and nuclear weapons programs under international monitoring.
"Sports exchanges can be valuable. Sports diplomacy can be valuable," Carney said. "But this is a private trip, and our focus when it comes to North Korea is on sharpening the choice that that regime faces between further isolation, further economic deprivation ... and taking advantage of the opportunity to rejoin the community of nations to ease that and potentially end that isolation."
This is not the first time the White House and Rodman, who first visited Pyongyang last February, have clashed on the issue. In his interview with CNN on Tuesday, Rodman went so far as to suggest that American Kenneth Bae, who has been held captive in North Korea since November 2012, was justly detained by the Kim government.
Carney disagreed: "We remain gravely concerned about Kenneth Bae's health and continue to urge [North Korean] authorities to grant his amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds."
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