Former NBA legend Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea soon with a “promise” to gain the release of jailed American proselytizer Kenneth Bae, as Pyongyang abruptly cancelled Friday an invitation to a senior State Dept. official who, according to U.S. officials, had already hammered out an agreement that would have seen the prisoner return with the most senior U.S. official to visit the isolated nation since Kim Jong Un assumed power in December 2011.
Three days ago, on August 27, the U.S. State Department announced that Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Robert King would travel to North Korea to bring home an American Christian missionary doing hard labor in prison for proselytizing Christianity.
What several senior U.S officials involved in the negotiations to release the U.S. prisoner didn’t know, was flamboyant former basketball star Dennis Rodman, is scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang in a few days at the invitation of “my friend” Kim Jong Un with a stated mission to bring about the release of Kenneth Bae. Now, instead of Ambassador King, it appears that the tatood, heavily pierced ‘bad boy’ Rodman will likely be the point man for the release of Bae.
On Thursday, the U.S. announced King “will travel to Pyongyang August 30 on a humanitarian mission focused on securing the release of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae,” according to a State Department spokesperson. “Ambassador King will request the D.P.R.K. pardon Mr. Bae and grant him special amnesty on humanitarian grounds so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical treatment.”
But today, as King was en-route to North Korea and on a layover in Japan, Pyongyang cancelled the invitation to talk about the American prisoner “abruptly” and “without explanation,” according to the U.S. State department. The U.S. State Dept. said Friday it was “surprised and disappointed,” adding it had sought “clarification” from Pyongyang about the eleventh-hour decision. Despite having “sought clarification from the DPRK about its decision”, the U.S. announced this morning that ”Ambassador King intends to return to Washington from Tokyo the afternoon of August 31.”
“King was not going there to negotiate the release of Bae. It was 100% agreed he was bringing Bae home–a done deal,” a U.S. government North Korean specialist who spoke with King Thursday and with years of experience negotiating the release of U.S. citizens jailed previously by Pyongyang told NK News. “He was going there to pick up the package.”
Had Ambassador King made his scheduled trip to Pyongyang, he would have been the highest level U.S. official to have visited the isolated nation since the young leader, Kim Jong Un, took power in December 2011.
Rodman “promised” Thursday that he would raise the issue with Kim Jong Un at a scheduled meeting at the invitation of “my friend” Kim Jong Un, the 29 year old basketball fanatic who leads North Korea and its nuclear weaponized fourth largest standing army in the world.
“I will definitely ask for Kenneth Bae’s release,” Rodman told Huffington’s Live host Marc Lamont Hill.
“I will say, ‘Marshal, why is this guy held hostage?’ I could try and soften it up in that way. If the Marshal says, ‘Dennis, you know, do you want me to let him loose?’ and then if I actually got him loose – and I’m just saying this out the blue – I’d be the most powerful guy in the world.”
See full story on NKNew.org http://www.nknews.org/2013/08/dennis-rodman-assumes-u-s-envoy-to-north-koreas-rescue-mission/