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N. Korea mission accomplished, says former NBA player Charles Smith

  |   Jan. 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM
| License Photo
BEIJING, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Former NBA player Charles Smith said in Beijing Friday he and a team of former players accomplished their culture exchange mission in North Korea.

"We set out on a mission to use basketball as a bridge for cultural exchange and we accomplished that mission. All of us agree that the trip was incredible," he told reporters at Beijing's airport.

Smith returned from Pyongyang with three other former NBA players. An American accompanying the team said the group's leader, former NBA power forward Dennis Rodman, would spend one more day in North Korea, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported.

Rodman sang birthday greetings to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prior to an exhibition game played Wednesday in Pyongyang.

On Thursday, American tourist Sean Agrew, who attended the game, told reporters in Beijing Rodman and several other players stayed behind to go skiing.

North Korea recently completed a pet project of Kim's, the Masik Pass Ski Resort.

It was the fourth time Rodman, who has described Kim as a "friend for life," has visited North Korea in the past year. Rodman was criticized for not using his friendship with Kim to seek the release of a detained American citizen, Kenneth Bae, Yonhap said.

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