Before Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un at a summit in Hanoi in February, the North Korean dictator reportedly asked the United States to send over “famous basketball players” as part of a “cultural exchange” between the two countries as they attempted to craft a denuclearization agreement, per an ABC News report.
The deal never came to fruition after Trump walked away from talks after refusing to acquiesce to Un’s request for sanctions relief.
From the report:
The request was made in writing, officials said, as part of the cultural exchange between the two countries, and at one point the North Koreans insisted that it be included in the joint statement on denuclearization. The North Koreans also made a request for the exchange of orchestras between the two countries.
“While we did not reach an agreement with the DPRK [North Korea] at Hanoi, we exchanged detailed positions and narrowed the gap on a number of issues,” a State Department official told ABC News in a statement and declined to comment on ongoing conversations.
Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman have become friends after Rodman visited Pyongyang in 2013. Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong II, once requested the United States send Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan to North Korea, per ABC News. After Jordan declined, the U.S. sent a signed basketball by Jordan to Kim Jong II instead.