US criticizes NKorea for wining and dining Rodman

March 1, 2013 - 4:29 PM
North Korea Rodman

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman speaks to the media at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, before he leaves North Korea Friday, March 1, 2013. Ending his unexpected round of basketball diplomacy in North Korea on Friday, Rodman called leader Kim Jong Un an "awesome guy" and said his father and grandfather were "great leaders." (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is criticizing North Korea for, quote, "wining and dining" visiting ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman while its own people go hungry.

Spokesman Patrick Ventrell Friday distanced the U.S. government from Rodman's visit to Pyongyang this week and his praise for the nation's leader Kim Jong Un and his predecessors.

Rodman departed the country Friday, calling Kim an "awesome guy." He watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader Thursday and later drank and dined on sushi with him.

Ventrell told reporters that North Korea has a horrific human rights record, possibly the worst in the world.

He said, "You've got the regime spending money to wine and dine foreign visitors, when they should be feeding their own people."