Dennis Rodman: 'Kim Jong-un did not have his uncle and ex-girlfriend executed'

The retired professional basketball player said the pair were 'standing right behind me' when he visited North Korea

Dennis Rodman has countered reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un had his ex-girlfriend and uncle killed.

In an interview with DuJour, the retired professional basketball player said both of Kim Jong-un’s supposed victims were “standing right behind me” during his visit to the country in January.

Rodman said: “You could say anything here about North Korea and people would believe it. The last time I went there, when they said they killed his girlfriend, they killed his uncle, they just fed him to the dogs… They were standing right behind me.”

Pyongyang announced the sacking of 67-year-old Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong-un’s uncle and second in command, in December.

Just four days later, Jang was tried for treason by a special military tribunal and executed, according to North Korea’s state-run news agency.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) listed a series of “crimes” committed by the “corrupt and degenerate” Jang; it reported that he confessed to these and the death sentence was immediately carried out. It is not known how he was executed.

Later, uncorroborated reports said that the communist regime had gone on to brutally purge all direct relatives of the “traitor” uncle, including his sons and grandchildren.

In August last year, it was widely reported that Hyon Song-wol, a pop singer and Kim Jong-un’s former lover, had been executed by machine gun.

But Rodman insisted the killings had not happened.


The NBA basketball player, who said he has visited North Korea six times and describes its leader a “friend for life”, defended the hermit kingdom against Western hostility.

“I’ve never told this to anyone, but the last time I was there, they just came out and started saying stuff about what they want from Americans. How they want to rewrite the peace treaty, they want us to get the ships out of South Korea. He’s (Kim Jong-un) saying the reason why they have the nuclear bombs is because they know that Americans think they can take over,” Rodman said.

“He says, 'I don’t want to bomb anyone. But we keep our nuclear weapons because we’re such a small country - that’s the only way we can defend ourselves.' They just want people in America and the government to know they don’t hate Americans. They want to work with Americans. They just want them to abide by the agreement that they wrote up years ago.”

Rodman even went so far as to say that Kim Jong-un “loves Americans”.

And asked about the country’s notorious labour camps, he said: “You name any country in the world… Which country does not have that s***? Every country has that.”

Rodman suggested that Kim Jong-un is working for his “people” and that his rule is more progressive than that of his father and grandfather.

But he acknowledged that his relationship with North Korea is controversial.

He said: “When I go there, it’s going to be a problem coming back. Because they [the American government] could actually stop me from coming back. They could actually pull my passport. They already told me that. They’re afraid of me because I know so much.”

Read more: Nasa captures huge fires burning in North Korea
North Korea conducts live-fire drills
North Korea to develop army to combat US
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?