IBTimes UK

Dennis Rodman has defended his latest visit to North Korea by insisting that talking about human rights with dictator Kim Jong-un would be rude.

The former Chicago Bulls player was confronted about his failure to bring up any reference to North Korea's prison camp network with the dictator. Human rights campaigners have said that the prison network was expanding under Kim along with human rights abuses.

But such concerns seemed far from the mind of Rodman as he set off for Pyongyang with a team of former NBA players for a basketball match to mark Kim's birthday. The group arrived in Pyongyang for the game as an image emerged of Rodmann riding Kim's own white horse during a previous visit, last year.

Before boarding the flight, Rodman told reporters: "The only thing I'm doing right now is this game for his birthday and hopefully if this opens some doors we can actually talk about certain things.

"I'm not going to sit there and say 'hey guy, don't do that'. That's not the right thing to do, he's my friend first. I love him. I'm not the president, I'm a guy. When the time comes and I do that, I'm going to sit down with all the people around the world and tell you everything that happens.

"But right now I'm going to go there and put on a good show for his birthday."

Rodman and Kim have struck up an unlikely friendship over the past year.

The trip to mark Kim's birthday was Rodman's fourth visit to North Korea since he told the dictator that he had a "friend for life". His trips have not been supported by the US government, which has no official relations with the pariah state.

Accompanying Rodman for the birthday game were 12 former NBA players who have agreed to take part in the so-called "basketball diplomacy".

An estimated 120,000 people have been imprisoned by the brutal regime. Last week it emerged Kim's uncle was reportedly executed by a pack of starving dogs for alleged disloyalty and "factionalism".

"People say so many negative things about North Korea. And I want people in the world to see it's not that bad," Rodman told reporters.