WASHINGTON — Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has a few words of advice for President Obama: Give North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a call.
Just back from a surprise trip to North Korea, Rodman appeared on the Sunday morning news show “This Week” to discuss his visit.
He said Kim Jong Un doesn’t want war with the U.S. and that the North Korean leader wants to open a direct line of communications to the White House.
“He wants Obama to do one thing. Call him,” Rodman said. “ ‘I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
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Rodman palled around with the North Korean dictator for several days last week, watching a basketball game with the Harlem Globetrotters, visiting an aquarium and going ice skating. They also shared a long dinner.
“He’s a great guy. He’s just a great guy,” said Rodman, a former NBA rebounding champ known as “The Worm.”
Rodman, 51, said Obama and Kim could use their shared love of basketball to break the ice.
“He loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said, “Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there,” Rodman said.
Asked about the repressive nature of the North Korean regime, Rodman said he didn’t condone Kim’s actions, but he also offered a defense. “The kid is only 28 years old. He is not his dad. He is not his grandfather,” Rodman said. “He is 28 years old.”
Kim’s father, Kim Jong II, and his grandfather, Kim II Sung, ruled North Korea since its creation in 1948. Kim Jong Un took over after his father died in 2011. His exact age is unknown, but he’s thought to be 30 or slightly younger.