The rogue nation, via its state news agency KCNA, said it had succeeded in launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, something leader Kim Jong Un reportedly had claimed to be close to accomplishing.
ICBMs have a minimum range of around 5,500 kilometers and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. For its part, South Korea did not rule out the possibility of the missile being an ICBM.
"The initial analysis by South Korean and the U.S. authorities is assuming that today's provocation was of a mid-to-long range missile, but we are not ruling out the possibility of the missile being ICBM class," South Korea's President Moon Jae-In said, according to a press pool report on Tuesday.
"If the missile indeed was an ICBM type, we will seek relevant response," he said, adding that his government would "respond firmly," using "all possible means," which included sanctions and dialogue.
A South Korean military official had earlier confirmed to NBC News that an unidentified ballistic missile was fired toward the East Sea from Banghyun area in Northern Pyong An Province at around 9:40 am (KST) Tuesday morning.
North Korea's KCNA said that the missile was a Hwasong-14, which it described as an "almighty ICBM rocket," launched at a steep trajectory, traveling 930 kilometers and reaching an altitude of 2,082 kilometers, according to a transcript translated by NBC News.
The steep trajectory, common with recent launches by the North, prevents its missiles from reaching nearby countries such as Japan, according to Reuters.
The KCNA transcript said that Kim Jong Un personally observed the launch on-site and "declared glorious success throughout the world."
South Korea's Moon had ordered a National Security Council meeting after the launch, South Korean state news agency Yonhap reported, citing the Blue House — the South Korean equivalent of the White House.
The meeting was to determine the country's defense readiness against further incidents, Yonhap said.