A Malaysian university is facing public criticism for awarding an honorary doctorate in economics to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The privately run HELP University said a "simple ceremony" to mark the conferment was held in early October at North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The event initially went unnoticed in this Southeast Asian nation but was reported briefly by North Korea's official news agency, KCNA.
It attracted criticism on social networks in Malaysia this week after the US-based Foreign Policy magazine posted a blog article that expressed surprise about the decision.
The university's president, Paul Chan, said in an undated statement released this week that the decision was about "building a bridge to reach the people".
Chan's office said he was not available for further comments on Thursday.