WASHINGTON-- The United States will soon carry out another test of its THAAD missile defense system, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, amid heightened concerns about North Korea's missile and nuclear capabilities.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is designed to intercept short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their final phase of flight.

The last time the U.S. tested THAAD, earlier this month, it said it successfully intercepted an intermediate-range missile target from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska.

It came shortly after the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of reaching parts of the U.S., including Alaska.

"These tests are done as a routine measure to make sure that the system is ready," Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. "They are scheduled well in advance of any other real world geopolitical events going on."

The new test is to be carried out at the same site in Alaska as early as Saturday, according to news reports.

South Korea hosts a THAAD battery to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. The system was deployed in March despite fierce opposition from China and Russia, which regard it as a threat to their security.

Source: Yonhap News Agency