Rev. Jesse Jackson tweets possible Rodman support

Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

January 8, 2014 4:18:04 PM PST
Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared to support Dennis Rodman and his trip to North Korea in a couple of tweets he posted. But now Jackson is saying ''don't misinterpret'' his words.

In one tweet, Jackson congratulated Rodman on his diplomacy efforts. He later deleted that and replaced it with one reading ''Ping pong diplomacy worked in China, and basketball seems to work in North Korea.''

"When Rodman goes to North Korea he is just a basketball player. The issue of diplomacy should be led by our government and those of us who do that," Jackson said Wednesday.

Rodman is the highest-profile American to meet with the North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and has said he is not a statesman.

Rodman called Kim his "best friend." Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched a Rodman-led basketball game from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from a birthday song.

Rodman said he was honored to be able to play the game in the North Korean capital, and called the event "historic." To keep it friendly, the Americans played against the North Koreans in the first half, but split up and merged teams for the second half.

The North Korean team scored 47 points to 39 for the Americans before the teams were mixed. Rodman played only in the first half and then sat next to Kim during the second half.

"A lot of people have expressed different views about me and your leader, your marshal, and I take that as a compliment," Rodman told the crowd. "Yes, he is a great leader, he provides for his people here in this country and thank God the people here love the marshal."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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