Asia Pacific / Politics

'Friends always!' Dennis Rodman touts Trump for Nobel in open letter ahead of U.S.-North Korea summit

by Satoshi Sugiyama

Staff Writer

Ahead of the U.S.-North Korean leaders second summit in Hanoi, there was perhaps no one who saw it more as a slam-dunk opportunity for peace than former U.S. basketball star and friend to leader Kim Jong Un than Dennis Rodman.

In an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump posted to Twitter on Thursday, Rodman, a longtime confidant of Kim’s, threw his support behind the second summit meeting. He encouraged Trump to use his strong relationship with Kim for the sake of the country’s benefit.

“You are on the cusp of a big, beautiful deal,” Rodman said in the open letter, calling himself an “ambassador of goodwill to North Korea.”

Rodman also said that Trump’s push for talks would make him “the front runner for a Nobel Peace Prize without question.”

“You have my forever and forever support!” he wrote.

Trump has said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated him for this year’s peace prize, a claim that Abe has refused to confirm or deny.

In the letter, he also wrote that he intends to follow up with Trump and Kim after the summit and was optimistic that peace would be achieved on the Korean Peninsula with the Trump’s “diverse team, amazing global contacts and willingness to think outside the box.”

Rodman has forged friendship with Kim, visiting one of the most isolated countries in the world repeatedly in what he has said is an attempt to improve relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

The onetime basketball bad boy has also cultivated close ties with Kim, even meeting a daughter of Kim, Ju-ae, The Guardian reported in 2013.

When the first meeting between the two leaders took place in Singapore last June, Rodman flew there to observe it. Appearing on CNN, an emotional Rodman expressed his hopes for the two countries to get along in amicably while wiping away tears.

In Thursday’s letter, Rodman was equally effusive.

“Mr. President and Chairman Kim, I wish you nothing but the best of luck on this second historic Summit… God Bless,” Rodman wrote. “Friends always!”

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