Biden Dismisses N.K. Launch as “Attention Seeking Behavior’

By Jennifer Parker

Jul 4, 2009 1:06pm

Vice President Joe Biden today dismissed North Korea's launch of seven Scud-type ballistic missiles in an apparent act of July 4th defiance against the U.S.

"Look, this has almost become predictable behavior. Some of it seems like almost attention-seeking behavior," Biden told me during our exclusive interview in Iraq airing Sunday on "This Week."

"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," he said. Pyongyang launched the missiles, which fell into the Sea of Japan, despite a U.N. ban from all ballistic missile-related activities and heavy U.N. sanctions against North Korea from previous tests and missile launches.

The North Korean missile launch is the biggest one-day barrage of ballistic missiles it has fired since the 2006 Independence Day holiday.

Biden argued the U.S. has been successful in convincing countries like China and Russia to pressure North Korea over its nuclear program.

"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. That's changed. And it is — there is a significant turning of the pressure. And there are going to be some very difficult decisions that that regime's going to have make. There's a real debate going on right now, George, about secession in North Korea."

Biden told me reports indicate Kim Jong Ill has tapped his youngest son to replace him.

"If I had to bet, that would be my guess. But I don't think anyone knows for certain, and I think these actions reflect sort of an uncertainty within the regime as to how they're going to go. So I think this is a very, very uncertain period for North Korea, but an increasingly certain period for Russia, the United States, South Korea, Japan, in terms of how to deal with North Korea," he said.

–George Stephanopoulos

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