Basketball celebrity Dennis Rodman has returned to Pyongyang, North Korea, for a “peace and love” “mission” in the repressive communist country.
Rodman previously visited the nation to celebrate the birthday of dictator Kim Jong-un, who he has referred to as a friend.
The website PotCoin.com, which provides digital currency to use for purchasing cannabis, has posted a video statement from Rodman and a company representative announcing the trip. The representative notes that Rodman “has a unique, amazing relationship between President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong-un” – Rodman participated in Celebrity Apprentice and has spoken highly of the president in public – and says the basketball player will “try to bridge the gap and try to bring peace and love to both nations, and Potcoin is the reason why.”
Rodman confirms the statement, adding, “give us love and praise us for doing what we are doing,” without providing specifics on what he is doing.
In a press release, PotCoin.com notes that Rodman has traveled to North Korea on four other occasions and “is known to be a trusted confidant of the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un.” The release adds that “the nature of his visit has yet to be disclosed” both to the public and, presumably, to PotCoin.com.
Rodman confirmed that he had landed in Pyongyang on Twitter Tuesday.
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) June 13, 2017
CNN reports that, while the connection between Rodman’s trip to North Korea and the service PotCoin.com provides is not entirely clear, the company has already benefitted from the news: “the currency’s value has jumped more than 60% since Monday to around 17 U.S. cents, according to industry website CoinMarketCap.com.” Whether that upswing will continue as Rodman makes public appearances in North Korea remains to be seen.
Rodman is expected to take on some form of diplomatic role during the trip in the name of his “peace and love” mission. It is not yet clear what that role will be, however, and NPR reports that international observers “don’t think he is acting as a back channel conduit between the two countries.” One major diplomatic development has occurred since Rodman landed in Pyongyang, however: North Korea has freed U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for disrespecting Kim.
Warmbier, 22, was detained and sentenced for allegedly pulling down a Communist poster. In a press conference last year, he confessed to the “crime” and accused the United States of “manipulating” him into committing the act. “I entirely beg you, the people and government of the DPRK, for your forgiveness. Please! I made the worst mistake of my life!” he concluded.
The Washington Post reports that Warmbier’s family believes he has been in a coma for a year, and that his liberation was dur to medical reasons. The newspaper reports Warmbier is currently in Japan. The family has confirmed Secretary of State Tillerson’s announcement that Warmbier was free, without providing specifics on what happened to him during his labor punishment. It is unclear whether North Korean officials have clarified how Warmbier entered a coma in the first place.
North Korean state media has posted nothing on either Warmbier or Dennis Rodman’s visit. The most recent menion of the United States at the Korean Central News Agency’s English-language site is a screed condemning South Korea for its “despicable behavior of acting at the beck and call of its American master” by implementing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, meant to protect from a North Korean attack.