North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s obsession with basketball filtered into his denuclearization talks with the U.S., ABC News reports.
Kim reportedly demanded “famous basketball players” visit his country to help normalize relations with the United States. His written request was part of the cultural exchange between the two countries and came ahead of President Trump’s second summit with Kim in Vietnam earlier this year.
That summit failed, with both sides blaming the other for the lack of progress.
Kim, who said he grew up watching the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan play, is a known basketball fan and friend of Dennis Rodman – Rodman first visited North Korea in 2013 with members of the Harlem Globetrotters and has visited Kim, who he calls a “friend for life,” again on several occasions.
Kim’s father, Kim Jong II, was also a basketball fan and in 2000 requested the U.S. send Jordan to North Korea – the NBA player declined.
Trump on Saturday suggested a third summit “would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand.”
The president also praised “the leadership of Chairman Kim” and said once a nuclear deal is completed and sanctions are removed North Korea will become “one of the most successful nations of the world.”
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