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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before