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Dennis Rodman back in North Korea this week

(Reuters) - Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea for a third time on Thursday despite political tension surrounding the execution of leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, trip organizers said.

"It's certainly safe, even when there is a bit of disruption like there is now - a bit of trouble or chaos - there's even more need for cultural or sporting exchanges," said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has arranged the trip.

Rodman has visited Pyongyang on two other occasions, during which he spent time dining as a guest of Kim Jong Un, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

In a rare admission of factionalism within the North Korean government, Jang Song Thaek was purged and then executed last week - a period South Korean President Park Geun-hye described as a "reign of terror".

Rodman is expected to provide North Korea's national basketball team with four days of training. He also intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball on Kim Jong Un's birthday.

"This being is orchestrated under the guise of sport," Scott said. "Dennis is going to spend a couple of days training the North Korean team to get them ship shape for the January match."

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Mike December 17 2013 at 3:57 PM

He's going to end up with his head on a stick!!

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procras48 December 17 2013 at 11:44 AM

Please keep him. He appears to be more of a Korean than an American

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Kimberly December 17 2013 at 10:59 AM

Rodman's definitely not the best person to represent the NBA's effort at sports diplomacy, but there's no doubt that sports have brought other countries together. Nelson Mandela proved that. But Rodman is no Mandela. Would love to know who the other "NBA stars" are going to hold basketball on the nutjob's birthday.

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holmes12310 December 17 2013 at 10:39 AM

He should just pack his ditty bag and stay there!

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Russ December 17 2013 at 8:26 AM

Yes, Dennis is a strange dude. However, neither George Bush nor Barack Obama have made any effort to communicate with little dictator. I spent time in South Korea while in out military. I can tell you one thing for sure. The Korean people are no different than us. They are just a bunch of poor people, trying to get through life. If something Dennis says or does or contributes to North Korea, then maybe, just maybe, it could result in some benefit to their people. Yes, I know, dictators are seldom ever influenced by kind acts of others. You never know what good could come out of this interaction. It can't hurt anything, so, I say give him a chance. What the hell.

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Bill December 17 2013 at 6:55 AM

Remember Ping Pong diplomacy under Nixon?

I think this is basketball deplomacy

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krf1942 December 17 2013 at 5:30 AM

Rodman supporting a barbarian. Perhaps he should consider other options

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Jim December 17 2013 at 5:22 AM

Watch your step Uncle Dennis.

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James December 17 2013 at 5:17 AM

That Dennis just keeps getting prettier.

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Rob December 17 2013 at 4:35 AM

Wonder if Kim Jong Un will give Rodman the honor of selecting the next Kim family member to execute and a random 100 people to send to the labor camps.

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lolabean2013 December 17 2013 at 11:20 AM

Makes me wonder what he is doing behind closed doors with this commie nut job. He shouldn't be allowed back in our country.

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