North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that Washington's overtures are undermined by its support for sanctions and joint military drills and arms buildups in South Korea and the region.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that North Korea had fired a suspected ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast from a location near Sunan, where Pyongyang's international airport is located.
The report comes amid signs North Korea could soon resume nuclear testing according to South Korean and US officials and after Kim broke a self-imposed moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing with a launch last month.
The US has sharply criticised Russia and China for conducting anti-satellite missile tests, although it also used an interceptor missile fired from a US Navy warship more than 14 years ago to destroy a malfunctioning spy satellite.
The rocket has the capability of reaching Mach 5 - five times the speed of sound - and carrying a payload of 83kg to 100 kilometres. Video footage showed the rocket taking off from the space centre, leaving a plume of smoke and fire in its trail.
Despite the Biden administration's vow to break a stalemate in denuclearisation talks with North Korea with practical approaches, no progress has been made since he came into office in early 2021.
In response, the United States and South Korea held combined live-fire drills, including surface-to-surface missile tests involving the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) of the US and the South's Hyunmoo-2 SRBM, both militaries said.
The missile tests "did not pose any threat or harm to the safety of civil aviation as well as the safety of neighbouring countries and regions, by a full consideration of civil aviation safety in advance."
North Korea has fired its most powerful missile since 2017, marking a month-long blitz of launches that has raised the spectre of leader Kim Jong Un restarting nuclear tests. He wants to catapult his nuclear ambitions to centre stage. Pyongyang conducted
The statement suggests North Korea might perform additional launches or even test a nuclear device soon as it pushes to modernize its arsenal and increase pressure on the Biden administration while nuclear diplomacy remains stalled.