beijing - China said Tuesday it successfully conducted a test of a ground-based missile defence system amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Concern over a potential conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea is growing following a series of bellicose statements between Washington and Pyongyang. Monday’s test of the mid-range missile system “achieved its anticipated goal” according to a brief statement by the Chinese defence ministry.

“This test was defencive. It does not target any country,” it added. The US has deployed a missile defence system, known as THAAD, in South Korea to guard against threats from North Korea, despite objections from beijing , which considers the installation a threat to its own security. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis have been pushing a diplomatic strategy to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to come to the table and negotiate away his nuclear arms.

But other senior figures in the Trump Administration have reportedly endorsed the idea of a “bloody nose” strike to damage Kim’s nuclear sector and show the US means business, hopefully without provoking a wider war.

Trump’s pick for ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, was dropped after refusing to endorse the idea, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

During last week’s State of the Union address, Trump warned that Pyongyang’s weapons program “could very soon threaten our homeland.”