Rodman asks Kim Jong-Un to release latest detained American

WASHINGTON: Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to ask for the release of Korean-American Kenneth Bae.

"I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose," Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.  Rodman visited North Korea in February and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not endorsed by the US state department.

Bae is a tour operator who was arrested in North Korea in November. The North's Supreme Court sentenced him last week for unspecified "hostile acts" against the state. In a foreign ministry statement on Sunday, North Korea said the 44-year-old Washington state man entered the country with a disguised identity.  Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009.  The others eventually were deported or released, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans - including former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

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