SEOUL (REUTERS) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has a baby daughter, seemingly guaranteeing the future of a dynasty which has ruled the isolated and impoverished state for three generations, according to US basketball star Dennis Rodman who met Kim last week.
Kim's wife Ri Sol had appeared to be pregnant in pictures issued last year by North Korea's state news agency, although no confirmation was available. She then disappeared from public view, returning last October.
Rodman, who has visited North Korea twice this year and describes Mr Kim as his "friend", told Britain's Guardian newspaper that he had held the baby.
"I held their baby Ju Ae and spoke with Ms Ri (Sol Ju, Kim's wife) as well. He's a good dad and has a beautiful family," Rodman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Kim Jong Un is the third member of his family to rule North Korea and is believed to be 30 years old. He was effectively anointed as his father's successor in 2010, despite the fact he is the third son.
Given the traditional nature of North Korean society, it is unlikely that Ju Ae would succeed her father, although female relatives of Mr Kim, such as his aunt, occupy key positions in government.