Sisters and journalists Lisa and Laura Ling are speaking out about the surprising trip basketball player Dennis Rodman made to North Korea with a Vice camera crew. No U.S. diplomats have met with the country's new leader who continues to defy the U.N. by carrying out nuclear tests and threatening the safety of South Korea and the United States.
Unlike most Americans, Laura has seen firsthand what goes on inside the reclusive country and has experienced the government’s brutality. She was jailed and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea in 2009 after she was detained with another journalist, Euna Lee. With help from President Clinton, Lisa was able to free her sister and Lee five months after they were first imprisoned.
Anderson asks Lisa if she thinks Rodman is aware of the cruel treatment carried out by North Korea's government against their own people. "After watching him be interviewed this weekend, I really don't think he had any clue. I don't think he would have talked about Kim Jong Un or the North Korean regime so effusively had he known," she says.
On ABC's "This Week," Rodman repeatedly defended his time with the dictator and called him a friend, awesome and honest. He also said he plans to return to North Korea.
The two sisters agree that Rodman shouldn't be taken seriously, despite doing what no American official has done. But Lisa believes that Rodman's direct interaction with Kim Jong Un could create a diplomatic opportunity. The trip confirmed Kim’s interest in one aspect of American culture - basketball. That could be a possible starting point that will lead to an opening for some sort of talks, in her opinion.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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