Washington was taken aback by suggestions that Dennis Rodman could serve as envoy to North Korea following the ex-NBA star’s trip to the reclusive state, where he apparently spent quality time with young leader Kim Jong-Un.
The US was quick to reject the idea of making Rodman the ambassador to North Korea.
“I’m not even sure I can dignify that with a response,” acting State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said, when asked at a press briefing.
Washington has disavowed any connection to the flamboyant basketball star’s trip to Pyongyang.
“Dennis Rodman has never been a player in our diplomacy. He does not represent the views of the United States,” Ventrell insisted. “We have direct channels of communications with the DPRK. They know how to get in touch with us.”
“Instead of spending their money on staging sporting events, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its people, and it should come in line with its international obligations,” Ventrell added.
Rodman’s trip comes at the height of tensions following the North’s nuclear test. He defended his visit – dubbed “basketball diplomacy” – saying Kim does not want war and wants US President Barack Obama to “call him”.
The US and North Korea have no official diplomatic relations, but have kept a channel of communications open at the United Nations, AFP reports.