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Dennis Rodman plastered on the front page of North Korea’s state newspaper

This is the front page of March 1's Rodong Sinmun, the North Korean official state newspaper. (Rodong Sinmun)

As anticipated, North Korean state media are playing up American basketball star Dennis Rodman's highly unusual visit to the country, which has peaked (so far) with Rodman sitting alongside leader Kim Jong Eun at a basketball game featuring American and North Korean players.

Rodman's visit, whether he means it to or not, presents an opportunity for North Korea to portray him as "paying tribute" to the country and its regime, bolstering the state's internal propaganda that they are a strong and prosperous nation whose greatness is universally acknowledged. Yes, it sounds silly, but it's part of how Kim stays on top of a system that includes gulags and rogue nuclear weapons.

The front-page headline states that the great Kim Jong Eun watched a basketball game and then met a former NBA star. One line states that Rodman "happily bowed to the general," possibly referring to Kim.

North Korea-watcher Adam Cathcart points out Kim Gye Gwan, North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, just two seats away from Rodman. Cathcart thinks that the person just off the right elbow of the man wearing the red hooded sweatshirt might be Kim's older brother, Kim Jong Chol, also a known basketball fan. The gang's all here!

Here's the full front page. Click to expand.

Rodong Sinmun, March 1, 2013

See photos from Rodman's trip.

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