The eccentric ex-Chicago Bulls player presented the North’s sports minister Kim Il Guk with a copy of the book by Trump, who was Rodman’s boss when he appeared on the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ reality TV show.
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The ‘Where’s Waldo?’ series – known in some parts of the world as ‘Where’s Wally?’ – feature crowded cartoon pictures where the reader has to find the main character. He is often hiding in a crowd or behind objects.
A review of ‘The Totally Essential Travel Collection’ on Amazon.co.uk says it ‘is a great tool for learning about different cultures, various historical events and for expanding your child’s geographical knowledge’.
The two books given as gifts are inevitably tinged with irony given that capitalism and foreign travel are both forbidden in North Korea.
Rodman arrived in the isolated North Korean capital on Tuesday on a mission he said US President Donald Trump would be ‘pretty happy’ about, adding he was trying to accomplish something that ‘we both need’.
US officials have repeatedly said Rodman is traveling to North Korea as a private citizen, despite media speculation he is working as an unofficial emissary for Trump.
Rodman’s visit is at least his fifth trip to the Stalinist state.
He was most recently there in 2014, when he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his ‘friend for life’, leader Kim Jong-Un.
The 56-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, who was heavily criticized for failing to raise the plight of a jailed US missionary on a previous trip, said discussing detained US citizens was ‘not my purpose’ with his most recent visit.
He arrived the same day that American student Otto Warmbier was released from detention by North Korea ‘on humanitarian grounds’ and evacuated to the US, with his family saying he had apparently been in a coma for over a year.
So far on his trip, Rodman has met with North Korean athletes, including watching a men’s basketball team play.
‘All of you guys should be proud of yourselves, because, you know, a lot of people don’t give you guys credit, because this is such a small country, and not many people from North Korea can compete around the world,’ Rodman told the North Korean athletes.
The player, nicknamed ‘The Worm’, is one of the few Westerners to have met Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011.
Initially it was thought Rodman’s arrival and the release of Warmbier might not be coincidental but the State Department and the White House have all said that the release was a ‘Trump-led initiative’.
By Afp and Associated Press