SINGAPORE: Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman wept during an interview in Singapore on Tuesday as he discussed unprecedented talks between the North Korean and US leaders in the city-state aimed at trying to end a nuclear standoff.
Rodman, who is one of a handful of Westerners to have visited reclusive North Korea and met Kim Jong Un, arrived in Singapore on Monday, the eve of the summit, declaring he was “excited to be part of it”.
He was spotted by Reuters on Tuesday sitting by the pool and smoking a cigar at a hotel just over 200 metres from another hotel where Kim and the North Korean delegation are staying. He declined to comment on whether he planned to meet Trump or Kim.
There has been no indication Rodman would be involved in the official talks at the summit.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Rodman said: “It’s a great day. I am here to see it. I’m so happy,” wiping away tears from beneath a large pair of black sunglasses.
Trump, asked last week if Rodman had been invited to Singapore, said, “No, he wasn’t.”
Rodman most recently travelled to North Korea a year ago as a private citizen.
This trip, like the last one, is sponsored by potcoin.com, the crypto-currency provider for the legal marijuana industry, Rodman said on Twitter.
Security around Kim’s hotel remained tight, suggesting the North Korean leader may return after the summit. Kim is due to depart Singapore on Tuesday afternoon, a source told Reuters.
Before Trump became president, Rodman appeared twice on his “Celebrity Apprentice” show and praised the billionaire real estate developer on Twitter during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Rodman has faced ridicule and criticism for his trips to North Korea, which some U.S. politicians and activists view as serving only as fodder for North Korean propaganda.
His earlier visits to North Korea included a basketball game he organised, an event chronicled in the documentary film “Big Bang in Pyongyang,” which featured Rodman singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim, as well as scenes of inebriated and erratic behaviour by the basketball Hall of Famer.