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Dennis Rodman defends North Korea trip for Kim Jong Un's birthday celebrations in bizarre TV meltdown

Speaking to CNN from Pyongyang, Rodman said his visit to North Korea for Kim Jong Un's birthday was a "great idea for the world"

Basketball star Dennis Rodman has angrily defended his controversial trip to North Korea in a bizarre television interview.

Speaking to CNN from Pyongyang, Rodman said his visit to the isolated country for Kim Jong Un's birthday was a "great idea for the world".

Rodman is in North Korea with a team of retired NBA players who will play a friendly game against the communist state for the dictator's birthday, who is believed to turn 31 tomorrow.

"One day, one day this door is going to open because of these 10 guys here," Rodman told CNN's Chris Cuomo while holding a cigar.

However, when asked if he would use his influence on "friend for life" Kim to help Kenneth Bae, an American citizen serving a prison sentence in a North Korean labour camp, the basketball player appeared to lose his temper.

"The one thing about politics...Kenneth Bae did one thing ... If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? Why he is held captive here in this country, why? ... I would love to speak on this.

"You know, you've got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, they've left their families, they've left their damn families, to help this country, as in a sports venture. That's 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that?"

"I don't a sh**t, I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them. They dared to do one thing, they came here."

Former NBA player Charles Smith tried to calm him down, insisting that the game is about friendship, not politics. But Rodman continued his rant, becoming increasingly angry at Cuomo.

"Let me do this. Really? Really? I want to tell you one thing. You're the guy behind the mic right now. We're the guys here doing one thing.

"We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse that we're gonna take? Do you sir, are you going to take the abuse?

"One day, one day, this door is going to open because these 10 guys here, all of us, Christie, Vin, Dennis, Charles, ... I mean everybody here, if we could open the door just a little bit for people to come here and do one thing."

Rodman's visit to North Korea comes just weeks after Kim's once-powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek was executed for "acts of treachery".

In his annual New Year’s Day address, the dictator said the “resolute” action to “ eliminate factionalist filth” within the ruling Workers' Party had bolstered the country's unity “by 100 times”