North Korea has tested a suspected intercontinental missile, according to Japanese officials and the South Korean military.
The missiles flew in the direction of the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military's general staff said on Thursday.
The launch, which extended North Korea’s barrage of weapons tests this year, came after the U.S. and South Korean militaries said the country was preparing a flight of its biggest-yet intercontinental ballistic missile.
Seoul fired multiple ballistic and guided missiles as a response, South Korea military reported.
Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Makoto Oniki said the missile had reached an altitude of up to 6,000 kilometers (3,750 miles)after launching towards the sea, according to the Kyodo news agency. He said the missile may have been a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile.
Seoul also believes its neighbor fired a long-range missile, the South Korean military said.
S. Korea's Moon strongly condemned N Korea missile launch saying leader Kim "violated the moratorium on ICBM launches" and used intercontinental ballistic missiles in the latest test, while Japanese prime minister describes the launch as an "unacceptable act of violence."
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing any ballistic missiles.
The United States and South Korea assume that the self-declared nuclear power also undertook tests in late February and early March in connection with Pyongyang's work on a new type of intercontinental missile system.
North Korea has repeatedly conducted weapons tests in the last few months, including of ballistic missiles which are largely surface-to-surface missiles. For years the country has been advancing on the development of such missiles, which can be fitted with nuclear warheads, and has been hit with tough international sanctions in response.
Reuters contributed to the story.