July 5, 2009 / 4:02 PM / 10 years ago

North Korea seeking attention with missiles: Biden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden dismissed North Korea’s recent missile launches as predictable “attention-seeking” behavior by the reclusive state.

Speaking in a television interview aired on Sunday, Biden said: “Look, this has almost become predictable behavior. Some of it seems like almost attention-seeking behavior.”

According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles on Saturday, coinciding with the U.S. Independence Day holiday. That followed its firing of four short-range, non-ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday.

The missile firings marked an escalation of recent saber-rattling by North Korea since its May 25 nuclear test. United Nations resolutions bar Pyongyang from firing ballistic missiles.

Biden said in the interview with ABC’s “This Week” during a visit to Iraq that he did not want to give North Korea the attention it was seeking.

“I think our policy has been absolutely correct so far,” he said. “We have succeeded in uniting the most important and critical countries to North Korea on a common path of further isolating North Korea.”

One example that the policy was working, Biden said, was that a North Korean cargo ship suspected of carrying missile parts recently had to turn back.

“There was no place they could go with certitude that they would not be, in fact, at that point boarded and searched,” he said.

“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 to make,” Biden said.

Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Sandra Maler

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