US officials say that they continue to hold out the possibility of trying to shoot down a North Korean test missile, even if there was no reason to believe the missile posed any threat to hit the territory of the US or any of its allies.
This was a comment made by US officials who insisted on anonymity. Though US officials haven’t formally ruled out such an effort before, they’ve likewise shown no indication they were considering such an attempt.
Indeed, analysts have considered such an attempt extremely unlikely, because the US missile interceptors have a dodgy history even in optimal environments. Trying and failing to intercept a missile would be a major embarrassment for the US.
Suggesting the US might consider such an attempt may be trying to position the US as more confident than it really is about its missile defense systems, though there is nothing to gain from such an attempt against a random North Korean test.