The United States has decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week out of California "to avoid any misperception or miscalculation," given tensions with North Korea, a senior U.S. defense official said on Saturday.
"This is the logical, prudent and responsible course of action to take," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The test of the Minuteman III intercontinental missile had been scheduled for next week out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The U.S. official said the test was unconnected to "anything related to North Korea" and added that another test launch could be expected next month. The United States remained fully prepared to respond to any North Korean threat, the official added.
The unusual precaution by the United States follows recent hostile rhetoric from North Korea, including a threat to attack U.S. bases in the Pacific. It also came after reports in the South that Pyongyang, under its 30-year-old leader Kim Jong-un, had moved two medium-range missiles to a location on its east coast.
The White House said on Friday it would "not be surprised" if the North staged another missile test.
The barrage of North Korean threats has created jitters in South Korea's financial markets.
Shares slid on Friday, but analysts said much of the decline was linked to the Bank of Japan's monetary easing policies and one analyst said further major falls were unlikely.