After his well-publicized “basketball diplomacy” trips back in 2013 and 2014, former NBA star Dennis Rodman is headed back to country.
Rodman arrived at Beijing International Airport on Monday, according to CNN. Rodman is expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday, according to two North Korean officials. The NBA Hall of Famer is one of the only Americans to have met current North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
Rodman has visited North Korea at least four times, according to CNN.
A United States official said the State Department was aware Rodman was planning on traveling to North Korea, but that he is not there on behalf of the country, according to CNN.
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Tensions between North Korea and the United States are at all-time high levels. There are currently four Americans being detained in North Korea: businessman Kim Dong Chul, University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, and Pyongyang University of Science and Technology academics Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song. North Korea has also tested 16 ballistic missiles this year, according to CNN.
Supreme Leader Kim is a known basketball fan, which is what brought Rodman to North Korea for his first time. Members of the Harlem Globetrotters accompanied Rodman and played in a basketball exhibition against the North Koreans.
During that first trip, Rodman told Kim he has a “friend for life,” according to CNN.