North Korea successfully test-fired an intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile carrying a hypersonic warhead Sunday, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The test was aimed at "verifying the gliding and maneuvering characteristics" of such a missile and "the reliability of newly developed multi-stage high-thrust solid-fuel engines," the country's state media reported Monday.

The South Korean military said earlier that North Korea had fired what was believed to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan on Sunday, its first such launch of the year. It said the missile was fired from near Pyongyang and flew about a thousand kilometers before falling into the sea.

North Korea test-fires an intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile carrying a hypersonic warhead on Jan. 14, 2024. (KCNA/Kyodo)

The Japanese government confirmed that the projectile fell outside Japan's exclusive economic zone with no damage to aircraft or vessels reported. The Japanese Defense Ministry said the missile flew a distance of at least 500 km at a maximum altitude of over 50 km.

KCNA did not state the missile's flight distance or altitude.

A hypersonic missile is designed to travel at more than five times the speed of sound on irregular and low-altitude trajectories.

If Pyongyang deploys such weapons, it could make it difficult for Japan, the United States and South Korea to detect and intercept them.

North Korea's Missile Administration said the latest test was part of its "regular activities for developing powerful weapon systems" and did not affect the security of any neighboring country, according to KCNA.

The launch came less than a month after the North fired a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang recently fired a barrage of artillery shells near the disputed western maritime boundary with South Korea, with Seoul conducting a military exercise in retaliation.

Related coverage:

North Korea fires intermediate-range ballistic missile, falls in sea

Ukraine identifies missiles used by Russia as North Korean-made

North Korea leader's message to Japan on quake sparks hope for dialogue