Washington, Aug 30

The US conducted a missile-defence test on Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii and intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile, just days after North Koreas bold missile test over Japan.

The missile test was conducted by the US Missile Defence Agency and Navy sailors on the John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, the New York Times reported.

"We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability and this was a key milestone in advancing the capability to intercept missiles," said Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, the Director of the Missile Defence Agency, part of the Defence Department.

"We will continue developing ballistic missile-defence technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves," he said.

Tensions between the US and North Korea have been rising in recent months over Pyongyang's development of its nuclear programme.

The US regularly tests its missile-defence systems and this was the second time one of its Standard Missile-6 missiles successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile, the agency said. The test had long been planned.

North Korea's most recent missile test on Tuesday prompted the Japanese government to tell residents to take cover. The missile travelled over the northern island of Hokkaido and landed in the sea.

The country's state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted leader Kim Jong-un as saying that "like a real war", the latest drill was "the first step of the military operation of the KPA (Korean People's Army) in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam".

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