Royce slams Rodman for North Korea 'propaganda win'

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs panel slammed former basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest trip to North Korea as an ill-timed “propaganda win” for Kim Jong Un's repressive regime.

“The trip comes at the worst possible time — after Kim Jong-un brutally solidified his grip on power — and with no progress towards denuclearization,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) told Breitbart News. “This basketball game will do nothing to improve the abysmal human rights conditions in North Korea. It's a propaganda win for the regime.”

Rodman's trip follows reports that Kim recently had his own uncle, a former mentor, executed. Rodman is accompanied by several former NBA players — including Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith — on his fourth visit to the reclusive communist country. The group is scheduled to play in an exhibition game on Wednesday to mark Kim's 31st birthday.

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The State Department has declined to directly criticize Rodman's latest trip.

“We haven’t been contacted by Mr. Rodman about his trip. We obviously recommend against all travel to North Korea by U.S. citizens,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. 

“Dennis Rodman is technically right. He’s not there as a representative of the U.S. Government trying to affect anything. We weren’t contacted by him, and he’s not there representing us.”

Rodman told reporters on Monday that the proceeds from the trip would go to a North Korean charity for the deaf, but Think Progress was unable to find any evidence of its existence. 

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

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