Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has apologized for angry comments he made about US citizen Kenneth Bae, who is currently detained in North Korea.
In an interview with CNN, Dennis Rodman had appeared to point blame at Kenneth Bae, who has been jailed for 15 years by Pyongyang.
In a statement, Dennis Rodman apologized and said he had been drinking.
Dennis Rodman is in North Korea for a basketball match to mark the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The match was played on Wednesday and was attended by Kim Jong-un, to whom Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday.
Dennis Rodman is the most high-profile American to meet the North Korean leader, who he describes as a friend.
In his statement, Dennis Rodman said he took full responsibility for his actions.
“It had been a very stressful day. Some of my team-mates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates,” the basketball player wrote.
“My dreams of basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the truth.”
His controversial comments came as he made his fourth visit to North Korea.
Dennis Rodman had been asked several times in the past whether he could use his relationship with Kim Jong-un to discuss Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in May 2013.
North Korea said that Kenneth Bae – described as both a tour operator and Christian missionary – had used his tourism business to plot sedition.
In the interview with CNN, Dennis Rodman lost his cool, appearing to suggest Kenneth Bae was at fault.
“If you understand what Kenneth Bae did… Do you understand what he did in this country? … I would love to speak on this,” he said.
Kenneth Bae’s sister described Dennis Rodman’s comments as appalling and said she was concerned they would hurt efforts to free her brother.
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