In an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz last month, Adm. Timothy Keating, the head of the U.S. military's Pacific Command, which covers North Korea, said the U.S. military would be ready to shoot down the North Korean rocket if ordered to do so.
"We've got Aegis cruisers, we've got radars, we've got space-based systems, we've got ground-based interceptors. We will be fully prepared to respond as the president directs," Keating said.
Japan had deployed missile-defense systems to attempt to shoot down the North Korean missile if it threatend Japanese territory. U.S. diplomats met with key counterparts in recent weeks in a bid to coordinate a response to the launch.
Washington has been trying to convince North Korea to return to the Six Party Talks, aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear capability. Negotiations stalled last year in a disagreement over how the other parties would verify the extent of North Korea's nuclear programs.
The State Department has said it does not see the journalists' detainment as related to the missile launch and has called for their immediate release. North Korean official media reports say the two will be tried on espionage charges.