Dennis Rodman leaves North Korea after 5-day trip
PYONGYANG, North Korea — Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman left North Korea on Saturday after a five-day trip during which he met leader Kim Jong Un.
Rodman told The Associated Press as he was leaving his hotel in the capital that Kim had spoken about his visiting again and that Kim "really actually wants to change things."
He said Kim had encouraged Rodman when he goes back to the United States to "say some very good, positive, and very good things about this country, that's what we talked about a lot."
North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, said in a brief report that the two had "a cordial talk," and that Kim invited Rodman back again "any time."
The report said they watched a basketball game together, and Kim hosted a dinner for the sports star.
Rodman first met Kim — a basketball fan — during a visit in February to promote the sport and make a film. Rodman has suggested "basketball diplomacy" could warm relations and has called Kim an "awesome guy."
The KCNA report did not mention Kenneth Bae, an American missionary jailed here. Rodman reiterated what he said before his visit, that it was not intended to achieve the release of Bae, an ethnic Korean US citizen who has been held in North Korea since last year.
Rodman spoke briefly before hurrying into a waiting car.
Rodman once asked on his Twitter account for Kim to "do me a solid" and release Bae.
Bae was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state. Kim has the power to grant special pardons under the North's constitution.