North Korean leader Kim Jong Un revealed his daughter to the world for the first time on Saturday in striking photos showing the pair hand-in-hand before the launch of the nuclear-armed country's largest ballistic missile the day before.

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

A surprising addition to the launch was the presence of Kim's daughter, whose existence had never been publicly confirmed before.

Her unexpected appearance raises the prospect that leadership of the totalitarian state could pass to a fourth generation of Kims, and suggests that nuclear weapons will be part of that inheritance, analysts said.

KCNA did not name the girl, who is seen in photographs in a white puffy coat holding hands with her father as they looked at the massive 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 U.S.-based Stimson Center. "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."