The US State Department has criticised North Korea for "wining and dining" visiting ex-National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman while its own people go hungry.
Spokesman Patrick Ventrell distanced the US government from Rodman's visit to Pyongyang this week and his praise for the nation's leader Kim Jong Un and his predecessors.
Rodman left the country on Friday, calling Mr Kim an "awesome guy".
He watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader and later drank and dined on sushi with him.
Mr Ventrell told reporters that North Korea has an 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."