Dennis Rodman, diplomat? He's back in North Korea

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.

Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was "suffering from very severe financial difficulties". He told reporters in Beijing, as he departed for Pyongyang, that he hopes his trip will "open a door" for Trump. And Yun was dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release.

Tillerson said Mr Warmbier is on his way back to the U.S. to be reunited with his family. "He's not a member of the Foreign Service - his focus is on getting things done". "However, we must have realistic expectations, and if the DPRK (North Korea) and USA governments wish to communicate or send messages, there are channels to do that", said Daniel Pinkston, a Troy University lecturer and expert on the Koreas, based in Seoul.

Rodman, 56, is returning to North Korea for the first time in three years, a senior Donald Trump advisor confirmed to Fox News.

But PotCoin didn't say what the trip has to to do with a bitcoin-like digital currency aimed at transactions between legal marijuana users and merchants.

Four Americans are now being detained in North Korea.

The 22-year-old Warmbier has served just over a year of his 15-year sentence - allegedly for taking down a sign of the late dictator Kim Jong Il while Warmbier was in the country with a tour group. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. He said Warmbier, 22, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was en route to the USA where he will be reunited with his family. Four Americans are also now detained in North Korea.

Rodman met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on previous trips to Pyongyang and has called him "an awesome kid". The trip quickly turned into a debacle, with sponsors dropping some of the players, who went on CNN to try to explain why they were there.

During the 2014 visit he led a team of retired American players in a basketball game to celebrate Kim Jong Un's birthday. The trip comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Pyongyang.

He has previously described his trips - including one in 2013 with the Harlem Globetrotters - as "basketball diplomacy" but has been roundly criticised for failing to raise human rights issues or the plight of U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae, who was detained at the time. He and his friends, Terwilliger and Volo, are the only Americans known to have met Kim.

Rodman promoted his past visits as a form of informal "basketball diplomacy", using sports and as a way to bridge divides, said Daniel Pinkston, a professor of International Relations at Troy University in Seoul.

North Korean officials had accused Warmbier of acting on behalf of a Methodist church in OH, his native state, as well as attempting to benefit the Central Intelligence Agency and the Z Society, a group at UVA.

He was on Celebrity Apprentice twice and endorsed Trump for president, for which the mercurial former businessman and reality show star was duly appreciative.

"The fact is, you spelled her name wrong, so Dennis, you lost", Trump said.

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