Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives for Trump-Kim summit
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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives for Trump-Kim summit

Singapore: Former US NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in Singapore late on Monday for a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying he was "excited to be part of it".

There has been no indication Rodman would be involved in any official talks at the summit, which is aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles in exchange for economic incentives and security guarantees.

"It should go fairly well, but people should not expect so much for the first time," Rodman told reporters at the airport. "The doors are opening."

Trump, asked last week if Rodman had been invited to Singapore, said: "No, he wasn’t."

In a Fox News interview last week, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said that Rodman is "great on the court but negotiations should best be left to those who are good at it".

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"President Donald Trump is the best. So we expect he and Kim Jong-un to have an amazing conversation without Dennis Rodman in tow," Gidley said.

Odd couple ... North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman.

Odd couple ... North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman.

Photo: KCNA

However, Rodman announced his trip in a Tweet with a composite photo of him, Trump and Kim in front of the flags of both nations and the word "unite".

Rodman is one of a handful of Westerners to have visited reclusive North Korea and met Kim, who is believed to be a huge basketball fan and occasional player. He has called the North Korean leader his "friend for life".

Rodman first visited North Korea in 2013 with members of the Harlem Globetrotters and has returned several times. He held Kim's daughter during a visit in 2013 and he most recently travelled there a year ago as a private citizen.

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman in a photo circulated in 2013,

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman in a photo circulated in 2013,

Photo: AP

After his most recent five-day visit, Rodman told reporters: "I’m just trying to open the door".

This trip, like the last one, is sponsored by potcoin.com, the crypto-currency provider for the legal marijuana industry, Rodman said on Twitter.

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Before Trump became President, Rodman appeared twice on his Celebrity Apprentice show and praised the billionaire real estate developer on Twitter during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Rodman has faced ridicule and criticism for his trips to North Korea, which some US politicians and activists view as serving only as fodder for North Korean propaganda.

His earlier visits to North Korea included a basketball game he organised, an event chronicled in the documentary film Big Bang in Pyongyang, which featured Rodman singing Happy Birthday to Kim, as well as scenes of inebriated and erratic behaviour by the basketball Hall of Famer.

Reuters