'This Week' Transcript: EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Joe Biden

STEPHANOPOULOS: And meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it pretty clear that he agreed with President Obama to give until the end of the year for this whole process of engagement to work. After that, he's prepared to make matters into his own hands.

Is that the right approach?

BIDEN: Look, Israel can determine for itself -- it's a sovereign nation -- what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Whether we agree or not?

BIDEN: Whether we agree or not. They're entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that. But there is no pressure from any nation that's going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed.

What we believe is in the national interest of the United States, which we, coincidentally, believe is also in the interest of Israel and the whole world. And so there are separate issues.

If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But just to be clear here, if the Israelis decide Iran is an existential threat, they have to take out the nuclear program, militarily the United States will not stand in the way?

BIDEN: Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination that they're existentially threatened and their survival is threatened by another country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say we can't dictate, but we can, if we choose to, deny over-flight rights here in Iraq. We can stand in the way of a military strike.

BIDEN: I'm not going to speculate, George, on those issues, other than to say Israel has a right to determine what's in its interests, and we have a right and we will determine what's in our interests.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile, North Korea...


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... seven missile launches in the last 24 hours, 11 this week. Anything the United States can do about it?

BIDEN: The question is, is there anything that we should do about it?

Look, this has almost become predictable behavior. Some of it seems like almost attention-seeking behavior.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you don't want to give the attention?

BIDEN: And -- no, I don't want to give the attention, because, look, I think our policy has been absolutely correct so far. We have succeeded in uniting the most important and critical countries to North Korea on a common path of further isolating North Korea. They're going to be faced with a pretty difficult choice, it seems to me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not a task that includes very forceful enforcement of the sanctions. The Russians and the Chinese blocked any boarding of the ships, didn't they?

BIDEN: No, no. Well, what they did was, if you noticed, the ship had to turn around and come back. Why? Because no port would allow them into their port.

There was no place they could go with certitude that they would not be, in fact, at that point, boarded and searched. And so I would argue that it, in fact, worked.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is our policy now though basically waiting for the Kim Jong-il regime to collapse?

BIDEN: Our policy is to continue to put united pressure from the very countries that North Korea was able to look to before with impunity. They could take almost any action and got no reaction, no negative reaction.

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