Kim Jong Un eyed ‘famous’ basketball players to help smooth denuclearization deal – Washington Examiner

In the lead-up to the February summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, North Korean officials reportedly requested “famous basketball players” be sent to North Korea to help mend relations between the two countries.

The appeal was made in writing, ABC News reports, and at one point North Korea urged that the request be included in the joint statement on denuclearization. The bid was made as part of the cultural exchange, which also included a request for the two countries to exchange orchestras.

Kim is a huge fan of American basketball. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has met with Kim in North Korea on a number of occasions, including for his birthday.

Despite much buildup over the summit, no agreement on denuclearization came out the meeting between the two leaders. Trump walked out of the summit after Kim demanded all sanctions be lifted in exchange for only partial denuclearization.

Since the meeting, Kim has escalated tensions in the region. Last week, a number of short-range projectiles were fired into the sea of North Korea’s eastern coast, and on Thursday, the U.S. announced that it had seized North Korea’s second-largest cargo vessel.

The Washington Examiner reached out for the State Department for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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