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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un reportedly requested the U.S. send “famous basketball players” to the Hermit Kingdom in an effort to normalize the relationship between the two countries.
The request took place ahead of the second summit between President Trump and Kim in Vietnam. North Korea insisted at one point the agreement be a part of a joint statement on denuclearization, ABC News reported Thursday, citing two U.S. officials. It wasn't clear whether specific NBA players were mentioned in the request
“While we did not reach an agreement with the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] at Hanoi, we exchanged detailed positions and narrowed the gap on a number of issues,” an unidentified U.S. State Department official told ABC News.
Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong Un trusts him.
The U.S. and North Korea failed to reach an agreement on denuclearization at the second summit in February. North Korea has since fired off multiple projectiles over the last few weeks.
Kim is known to be an avid basketball fan and has a close relationship with Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. The former Chicago Bulls star has made multiple appearances in North Korea and once brought a handful of Harlem Globetrotters to the country.
Rodman praised Trump ahead of the second summit with Kim and even suggested the president could receive a Nobel Peace Prize should he have achieved denuclearization.
Kim Jong II, the current leader's father, also once requested the U.S. send Michael Jordan to North Korea, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told ABC News in 2000.
Since the second summit, tensions between the two countries have risen again. South Korea’s military said North Korea launched two projectiles Thursday in the same location where the country conducted its first successful flight tests of its Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile and Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.
Later Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced a North Korean cargo vessel used to transport coal was seized over violation of international sanctions.
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