The nature of the launch is still being determined, but analysts have said the test could suggest a longer range than previously tested devices.
According to the Japanese defense minister, the missile flew for about 30 minutes before falling in the Sea of Japan and could be a new type of missile, Reuters reported.
Tomomi Inada said it covered a distance of 435 miles, reaching an altitude of more than 1,245 miles – higher than that reached by an intermediate-range missile North Korea fired in February.
The US Pacific Command said in a statement the type was being assessed but that its flight was not consistent with that of an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], which would have the range to reach the US mainland.
North Korea announces it has “successfully” fired a ballistic missile on February 12 in a test supervised by leader Kim Jong-un.
According to the state news agency KCNA, the Pukguksong-2 is a “surface-to-surface medium-to-long-range ballistic missile”.
South Korea’s defense ministry called it an armed provocation to test the response of President Donald Trump.
North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test has been widely condemned.
The US, Japan and South Korea have requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the incident.
KCNA reported that the test of the Pukguksong-2 missile, a new type of strategic weapon said to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, was overseen by Kim Jong-un.
The news agency added that the missile was fired at a high angle in consideration of neighboring countries.
The rocket used a solid-fuel engine, the report said, which gives ballistic rockets greater power and range.
South Korea military experts said the rocket had been launched by a “cold-eject” system, which uses compressed gas for its initial thrust, a system employed for submarine-launched missiles.
The report also said that Kim Jong-un “expressed great satisfaction” over the test launch, which it said “adds to the tremendous might of the country.
South Korean and American officials said the missile flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 300 miles.
The missile reached an altitude of about 350 miles, the South Korean military said.
Experts suggest the tests are programmed for shorter distances to avoid a missile landing on Japan.
This was the latest in a series of tests in the past year, including North Korea’s fifth of a nuclear device.
The launch took place at 07:55 local time from the Panghyon air base in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula.
UN resolutions forbid North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile tests – part of wider efforts to prevent it becoming a fully nuclear-armed power.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said that “North Korea’s repeated provocations show the Kim Jong-un regime’s nature of irrationality, maniacally obsessed in its nuclear and missile development”.
NATO also condemned the missile test, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urging North Korea “not to raise tensions further and to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community”.
The EU joined the criticism, declaring in a statement that North Korea’s “repeated disregard of its international obligations is provocative and unacceptable”.
China, North Korea’s closest ally, has yet to comment. Beijing has joined in international efforts to press Kim Jong-un to rein in his nuclear ambitions.