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ICC Note: In yet another bizarre twist to the story of imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae, Dennis Rodman, a former basketball star, has arrived for a second visit to North Korea only days after an official American envoy sent to the country to ask for Kenneth’s release was rejected by Pyongyang. Rodman has stated that his trip has nothing to do with helping to free Kenneth, who was sentenced to 15-years of  hard labor in April for allegedly trying to overthrow the North Korean regime. Open Doors USA estimates that as many as 70,000 Christians may currently be locked up in the six massive prison camps around North Korea where political prisoners are held. 
9/3/2013 North Korea (Jakarta Globe) – Flamboyant former basketball star Dennis Rodman will arrive in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a five-day visit to North Korea, his second this year, but said he had no plans to negotiate the release of a jailed American missionary.
There had been speculation that Rodman, who met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in March, would secure the release of Kenneth Bae who was jailed for 15 years for trying to overthrow the North Korean government.
“I’m not going to North Korea to discuss freeing Kenneth Bae,” Rodman told Reuters in a telephone interview. “I’m just going there on another basketball diplomacy tour.”
Kim, the third of his line to rule North Korea is a basketball fan and appeared to get on well with Rodman on the earlier visit, with the two of them pictured laughing, eating and drinking together and watching an all-star basketball match.
Rodman’s latest trip is being sponsored by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.
“I’ve come out here to see my friend (Kim) – and I want to talk about basketball,” he added, speaking from Beijing, the usual transit point for flights into Pyongyang.
North Korea canceled a visit by Robert King, U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues, to Pyongyang last week on what the U.S. State Department said was a “humanitarian mission” to negotiate the release of Bae.
King’s trip was initially seen as a signal that relations between Washington and Pyongyang might start to improve. North Korea said it withdrew the invitation because of annual military drills last week by the United States and South Korea.
Rodman drew fire for his earlier trip to Pyongyang at a time when North Korea was threatening the United States, South Korea and Japan with missile strikes.
He called Kim, 30, who rules unchallenged in a country where there are an estimated 150,000-200,000 prisoners in work camps, “an awesome kid”.
Bae, a Korean American who had been working as a Christian missionary in China and North Korea, was arrested in the northeast port city of Rason late last year.

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