Officials in South Korea and Japan, which first reported the launch, said they could not immediately verify whether a satellite was placed in orbit.
Citing the North’s National Aerospace Technology Administration, state news agency KCNA said the satellite was launched from the Sohae satellite launch facility at 10.42pm and entered orbit at 10.54pm.
The space agency will soon send up multiple spy satellites to continue securing surveillance capabilities over South Korea and other regions of interest to North Korea’s armed forces, KCNA reported.
South Korean officials have said the latest launch attempt is likely to have incorporated technical aid from Moscow as part of a growing partnership that has seen North Korea send millions of artillery shells to Russia.
Russia and North Korea have denied such arms deals, but are publicly promising deeper cooperation.
“The launch is another flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” said deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood.