Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- Dennis Rodman, the exotic former NBA basketball star -- also known as "The Worm" -- has revealed that he is planning an extraordinary diplomatic mission back to North Korea in August to ask his "friend", Kim Jong Un, to free Kenneth Bae, the 44-year-old tour operator from Lynnwood, Washington state, who is said to be a "devout Christian."
North Korea provided no details of the alleged crime committed by Mr. Bae, but activists in Seoul say he was interested in bringing attention to humanitarian issues and may have been detained for possessing images of vagrant North Korean children. Groups of orphans, known as "kotjebi," or wandering swallows, are found throughout North Korea.
Rodman forged a relationship with Kim Jong Un, the young leader of North Korea, during a visit earlier this year to North Korea and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game and laughed a lot together.
Then recently Rodman again hit the headlines when he sent out a tweet which said, "I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose."
According to media reports, Rodman issued his tweet as a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release of Bae if the two were really buddies. Rodman explained, "I decided to help."
Now Rodman has gone a step further and announced in a Los Angeles street interview with www.tmz.com, that he plans to return to North Korea on to try and secure the release of Bae.
Kim Jong Un with Dennis Rodman
However, U.S. officials have told ABC News that they are in touch with Bae's family and the U.S. government is calling on the North Korean government to grant him amnesty.
The news of Rodman's trip comes as North Korea has been backing off from its constant drumbeat talk of war.
"At least Kim did one thing, he took the missiles back," Rodman said. "Thank you. Took the missiles back, right?"
After his earlier trip this year to North Korea, Rodman sat down in an exclusive interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos in which he praised the North Korean leader.
"I don't condone what he does," Rodman said, "but as far as a person to person, he's my friend."
TMZ in its story said, "Rodman was out in L.A. yesterday when we asked about his plan to head back to DPRK to visit his tiny, little, missile-obsessed 'friend' with the weird haircut, and the Worm told us he'll do everything in his power to sway Jong Un into releasing American Kenneth Bae -- who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.
"I'm gonna try and get the guy out," Rodman said ... "It's gonna be difficult."
Despite all the political talk, Rodman insisted, "I'm not a diplomat."
TMZ added, "Sure pal ... just get the guy out and we'll talk."
So will it work? Let's pray that it does. After all, God does move in mysterious ways!