Former US basketball Dennis Rodman has revealed that North Korean leader Kim Jung-un has a baby daughter named Ju-ae.

Kim's wife Ri Sol-ju was reported to be pregnant in 2012 although no official confirmation was given by the secretive state. She then disappeared from public view for months, reappearing last October.

After returning from his second trip to North Korea, Rodman again praised Kim as an "awesome guy" and let slip that he was also a "great dad" to his baby daughter.

Rodman told the Guardian: "We shared many meals and drinks where we discussed our plans to play a historic friendship basketball game between North Korea and the US as well as ways to develop their basketball team.

"I held their baby Ju-ae and spoke with Ms Ri as well. He's a good dad and has a beautiful family."

Rodman added: "Kim is a great guy, he loves basketball, and he's interested in building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges. I know in time Americans will see I'm just trying to help us all get along and see eye to eye through basketball and with my friendship with Kim I know this will happen."

Rodman refused to be drawn on criticism that he should have used his visit to lobby for the freedom of American prisoner Kenneth Bae, who is serving 15 years' hard labour for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state.

Rodman has previously made no secret about his desire to help Bae.

"It is not my job to talk about Kenneth Bae," he told reporters at the Beijing airport.

"Ask Obama about that, ask Hillary Clinton about that. Ask those a******s."