North Korea has confirmed that it successfully fired a ballistic missile on Sunday in a test supervised by leader Kim Jong-un.
South Korea’s Defence ministry called it an armed provocation to test the response of US President Donald Trump.
The device was described as a surface-to-surface medium-to-long-range ballistic missile and has been widely condemned.
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 leader Kim Jong-un.
It added that the missile was fired at a high angle in consideration of neighbouring countries.
The rocket used a solid-fuel engine, 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.
Kim Jong-un “expressed great satisfaction” over the test launch, which it said “adds to the tremendous might of the country”.
South Korea and US officials said the missile flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 500km (300 miles).
The South Korean military said the missile reached an altitude of about 550km,.
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.
United Nations resolutions forbid North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile tests – part of wider efforts to prevent it becoming a fully nuclear-armed power.
The US, Japan and South Korea have requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the incident.