- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2017

The nuclear impasse between North Korea and the West may have found a possible negotiator in retired basketball star Dennis Rodman.

The former Chicago Bulls rebounder discussed his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an interview with British television Wednesday and said he’d like to “straighten things out” as Pyongyang inches closer to instigating nuclear war.

“For me to go over there and see him as much as I have, I basically hang out with him all the time. We laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together. We ride horses, we hang out, we go skiing and we hardly ever talk politics. And that’s the good thing about that,” Mr. Rodman told Good Morning Britain.

“I don’t love him,” Mr. Rodman told interviewers. “I just want to try to straighten things out for everyone to get along together.”

Mr. Rodman, 56, has visited North Korea several times since Kim began ruling in 2011 and said the two have bonded over the years through their love for basketball.

He also was a contestant on President Trump’s reality television show, “The Apprentice,” making the the heavily pierced and tattooed former basketball star known as “The Worm” one of a few people on the planet to meet face-to-face with both the U.S. leader and his North Korean counterpart.

“I think if the president even tries to reach out for Kim, I think it will be a great possibility. Things can happen if Donald Trump, if they sit down, and have some type of mutual conversation,” Mr. Rodman said Wednesday.

“It don’t have to be like a friendship type of conversation, just a mutual conversation saying, ‘Hi, I would love to engage in some words and politics and over the history of your country and my country and just try to start some dialogue.’ I think that’ll open up maybe the door just a little bit.”

Mr. Rodman last visited North Korea in June, and he claimed afterwards to have helped secure the release of Otto Warmbier, an American student who had been held there for 17 months for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster.

Warmbier, 23, was sent to the U.S. in a coma in June and died several days later. Amplified by North Korea’s budding nuclear program and recent missile tests, tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have only worsened since Mr. Rodman’s last trip.

North Korea is behaving badly and its got to stop,” Mr. Trump said Thursday afternoon.

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