Kim Jong-un seen with daughter for first time at missile launch

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter inspects a missile at Pyongyang International Airport  (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter inspects a missile at Pyongyang International Airport (AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been pictured with his daughter for the first time.

Pictures show the pair hand in hand inspecting the launch of the rogue country’s largest ballistic missile.

North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The biggest surprise, however, was the presence of Kim’s daughter, whose existence had never been publicly confirmed before.

KCNA did not name the girl, who is seen in photographs in a white coat holding hands with her father as they look at the missile.

“This is the first observed occasion where we have seen Kim Jong-un’s daughter at a public event,” said Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert at the Stimson Center in Washington.

“It is highly significant and represents a certain degree of comfort on Kim Jong-un’s part that he would bring her out in public in such fashion.”

Kim is believed to have as many as three children, two girls and a boy, experts said. Some observers believed one of those children was seen in footage of celebrations for a national holiday in September.

Ju Ae is estimated to be about 12 to 13 years of age, which means that in about four to five years she will be preparing to attend university or go into military service, Mr Madden told Reuters.

“This would indicate that she will be educated and trained to go into leadership – it could be preparing for her to assume the central leader’s position or she could become an adviser and behind-the-scenes player like her aunt,” he said.