NEW: "Basketball diplomacy" event announced
He reportedly says that Kim's daughter's name is Ju Ae
Rodman has just returned from his second visit to North Korea this year
A North Korea expert says it's too early to talk about whether the baby is a likely heir
Eccentric former basketball star Dennis Rodman may not have brought imprisoned American Kenneth Bae back with him from North Korea, but he did emerge with something to announce.
Along with representatives from Paddy Power, an online betting company, he will put together a “basketball diplomacy” event involving players from North Korea, he said Monday.
At a news conference, he called Kim Jong Un, ruler of the repressive state, a “very good guy.”
Rodman also set tongues wagging over the weekend by leaking the purported name of Kim’s baby daughter.
Returning from his second trip to the reclusive, nuclear-armed nation, Rodman gave an interview Sunday with The Guardian, a British newspaper, in which he described the “relaxing time by the sea” he spent with Kim and his family.
‘A good dad’
The personal life of Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, is shrouded in secrecy. Even his exact age remains unconfirmed by outsiders. (He is believed to be in his early 30s.)
Speculation sprang up last year that Ri might be pregnant after a photo carried by state media showed her wearing a long coat that could have been hiding a bump. But North Korean authorities kept quiet about the matter.
The flamboyant Rodman, 52, shed more light on the situation in his Guardian interview, including the daughter’s name.
“I held their baby Ju Ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as well,” he told the newspaper.
He described Kim, who sits atop one of the world’s most repressive regimes, as “a good dad.”