Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Dennis Rodman defends friendship with Kim Jong Un after Otto Warmbier's death

According to the Associated Press, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said the United States and South Korea fabricated claims that North Korean abuse and mistreatment was to blame for the 22-year-old's death, calling these allegations "groundless".

Warmbier returned to the United States on June 13 in a coma and died less than a week after his return. Before they went, Volo told Strahan, he "asked on behalf of Dennis for [Warmbier's] release three times". Seventeen months later, he returned to US soil and died after spending most of his imprisonment in a comatose state.

Kenneth Bae, an American who was jailed for almost two years in North Korea, told CNN he believed Warmbier could have been tortured, and cautioned other Americans against going to North Korea. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for removing a propaganda banner from a hotel while on a church trip.

Rodman is feeling the major blowback and insisting, "I didn't know that he was sick".

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The North Korean regime is a cancer on the world, and what happened to Warmbier can never be justified, if even to make the larger point about some clueless young white American males who have lived privileged lives (not that we know that Warmbier was necessarily one of them). Volo referred to Warmbier's release as a "type of good faith" needed "if we're ever going to do some type of future sports relations".

"This college kid never should have been detained in the first place", said Portman, who met secretly with North Korean officials in NY last December to press for Warmbier's release. We jumped up and down.

However, both the State Department and Warmbier's father have said the former basketball star had nothing to do with Warmbier's release. "Some good things came of this trip", Rodman told "Good Morning America" on Friday.

Rodman also revealed Friday that he reached out to the Warmbier family to arrange a meeting but was rebuffed.

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Rodman initially tried to downplay their bond - "I'm not saying I would die for him" - and then said: "He's a friend of mine, okay, great".

"Because when I was organizing the trip, and I meet with the delegates here, you know, I addressed Otto Warmbier".

As for North Korea itself?

He added, "They're so happy now, because it's more like ... it's civilized again".

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