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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.

Jason Mojica, Associated Press - Ap

State Dept. criticizes N. Korea for wining and dining Rodman

  • Associated Press
  • March 1, 2013 - 2:22 PM

WASHINGTON - The State Department is criticizing North Korea for, quote, "wining and dining" visiting ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman while its own people go hungry.

Spokesman Patrick Ventrell Friday distanced the U.S. government from Rodman's visit to Pyongyang this week and his praise for the nation's leader Kim Jong Un and his predecessors.

Rodman departed the country Friday, calling Kim an "awesome guy." He watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader Thursday and later drank and dined on sushi with him.

Ventrell told reporters that North Korea has a horrific human rights record, possibly the worst in the world.

He said, "You've got the regime spending money to wine and dine foreign visitors, when they should be feeding their own people."

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