Rodman says Trump called him before summit

Former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman says he travelled to Singapore to "see what's going on"

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says he received a call from the White House ahead of President Donald Trump's historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Rodman told CNN in an interview from Singapore on Tuesday that a White House staffer called the former Celebrity Apprentice contestant to tell him the president was proud of him.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the call.

Rodman struck up an unlikely friendship with Kim over their shared love of basketball, but he says former President Barack Obama never took him seriously.

Rodman described Kim as a "big kid" who wants to see the world and he expressed hope that the two leaders will make progress.

Rodman is in town for the summit, but the White House had said he will play no official role.

Rodman told reporters at Changi airport hours before the summit that he came to Singapore "to see what's going on" and that he hopes "that things turn out to be well for everyone in the world".

Trump and Kim are meeting in what the US hopes will be the start of negotiations to eliminate North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear weapons programme.

Rodman is one of the few Westerners to have met the North Korean leader on visits to the capital city of Pyongyang.

Asked if he would meet Kim in Singapore, the ex-basketball player said he thought the North Korean leader "has bigger things to worry about than seeing me right now".

He added though that every time he has met with Kim, it has been a surprise, so maybe he will be surprised again on Tuesday.

Trump said last week that Rodman had not been invited to the summit.

Rodman arrived in Singapore wearing a T-shirt promoting PotCoin, which has sponsored his travel to North Korea in the past.

The cryptocurrency company gives marijuana businesses access to banking as an alternative to many financial institutions that will not do business with cannabis companies because marijuana is illegal under US federal law.