Kim Jong Un reportedly brought his love of basketball into nuclear negotiations with Washington, demanding that access to "famous" basketball players be part of any nuclear deal, ABC News reported, citing U.S. officials.
Before the North Korean leader sat down with President Donald Trump for a second time in Hanoi, Kim requested that the US send basketball stars to North Korea to help normalize bilateral relations, two officials told ABC News. He requested it be included in a potential joint statement on denuclearization.
Basketball diplomacy is not without precedent in US-North Korea relations.
Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, was also a fan of basketball who requested the opportunity to meet Michael Jordan. While that request was never met, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the late dictator a basketball signed by Jordan at the turn of the century.
Kim Jong Un is said to be a fan of the Chicago Bulls, and his friendship with Dennis Rodman is no secret. Rodman has made several trips to North Korea over the years. He first met Kim in 2013. Since then the two have ridden jet skis, sang karaoke, and even gone out drinking together.
But a deal was never reached in Vietnam. The second Trump-Kim summit wrapped up early, failing to bring about any meaningful results. Since then relations with North Korea have deteriorated.
An unidentified short-range ballistic missile(KCNA via Reuters)
Recently, North Korea began testing missiles again after more than a year without any such provocations. Twice in one week, Kim oversaw the launch of a new short-range ballistic missile that some experts believe to be a North Korean derivative of Russia's Iskander missile.
Some observers have speculated that the weapons testing is a message to Washington, while others have suggested the North may be warning Seoul. In either case, the prevailing view is that Pyongyang's patience is wearing thin. North Korea has previously warned that it will not wait forever.
Commenting on the recent launches, President Donald Trump said Thursday, "We are looking at it very seriously right now. Nobody's happy about it."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a game between former NBA players and North Korean players with Dennis Rodman at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in an undated photo release on January 9, 2014 (KCNA/Reuters)
Army researchers have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer. Except that 3D printers are meant to print out knickknacks, not flak jackets — which meant that engineers had to hack into the printer to get the job done.
There are #squadgoals, and then there are squad goals — and only one of them includes a potential future accompanied by autonomous murderbots.
Hot on the heels of the Marine Corps's head-to-toe overhaul of infantry rifle squads, a handful of grunts at the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California recently conducted field testing alongside a handful of autonomous robots engineered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation program.
An otherwise sleepy confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper was jolted from its legislative stupor after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled the former Raytheon lobbyist on ethical issues regarding his involvement with his former employer.