Rodman 'sorry' after controversial North Korea trip

BEIJING - An emotional Dennis Rodman apologised Monday as he returned from a controversial trip to North Korea, where he sang "Happy Birthday" to regime leader Kim Jong-Un.

The former NBA star was widely criticised for refusing to bring up human rights abuses or the plight of a US missionary detained in North Korea during his week-long visit.

The former Chicago Bulls player was also accused of pandering to North Korean authorities during the trip, which included an exhibition basketball match to mark Kim's birthday.

"I am sorry. I am not the president. I am not an ambassador. I am Dennis Rodman. Just an individual, just showing the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day," a clearly emotional Rodman told reporters at Beijing airport, before appearing to break down.

Rodman was asked whether he raised the issue of Kenneth Bae, who was detained by North Korean authorities.

In an interview with CNN last week, the heavily-tattooed Rodman delivered an angry tirade in which he appeared to suggest that the missionary merited his 15-year prison sentence.

"I'm sorry I couldn't do anything," Rodman said, in comments echoing those of his publicist last week.

Rodman was returning from his fourth visit to the reclusive state in 12 months. He described the trip as "amazing" and said he would visit the North again next month for "another game".

Rodman has developed an unlikely relationship with the young North Korean leader since making his first trip there in February, when he declared Kim a "friend for life".

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