Former NBA player Dennis Rodman has arrived in North Korea on his first visit since President Donald Trump took office. The US government was working with North Korea, trying to secure a release for Bae, yet when Rodman had the opportunity to speak to Kim Jong-Un, he didn't say anything about the Korean-American.
He has been called on to defend his travels to North Korea in the past, saying in an interview with CNN in 2014 they would help "open the door" to the reclusive state and describing the North Korean leader as his "friend for life".
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on Rodman's trip, but administration officials had told other media that the basketballer was traveling in a private capacity.
Rodman's next visit after that, in January 2014, included the surreal sight of him singing "Happy Birthday" to Kim at a basketball game and a freaky interview on CNN.
Rodman played a key role in winning three National Basketball Association titles for them alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990s.
North Korean officials confirmed to CNN Rodman's arrival in Pyongyang but did not give any details of the visit.More news: Philippines says 'strong indications' Maute militant brothers dead
He has previously referred to Kim as a friend and a "very good guy".
Highlighting the long history of the relations between Russian Federation and North Korea, Kim expressed hope that the traditions of friendship between the two countries would be further strengthened, reports Sputnik. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry had not issued a formal statement.
NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman told CNN he was hoping to do "something that's pretty positive", before he boarded a plane bound for North Korea.
The drone was believed to have crashed because it ran short of fuel while returning to North Korea.
United States officials are quick to point out that Rodman's visit to North Korea is in no way official and he is acting on his own.
The young Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, is reported to be a keen basketball fan and especially of the Chicago Bulls, for whom Rodman played a key role in winning three NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990s.More news: Alonso: I'll be back with McLaren, if we're winning
Rodman appeared twice on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show before he became president and praised him on Twitter during last year's election campaign.
On his first trip to North Korea, Rodman was accompanied by members of the Harlem Globetrotters and a crew from VICE News.
The Irish betting website ended its relationship with him in December 2013 as criticism mounted, saying it was responding to "the worldwide scrutiny and condemnation of the North Korean regime in recent weeks". Trump fired Rodman in both seasons.
"We at Potcoin are thrilled to be a part of this historical ground breaking trip about peace and love", Perez said, refraining from commenting on whether the North Korean authorities are aware that Rodman's trip was being funded by the group.
The visit, the goal of which remained unclear, would be Rodman's latest to the nuclear-armed nation.More news: Remembering the Fallen at Arlington