Vice President Joe Biden says the United States is committed to enforcing enhanced U.N. sanctions against North Korea, despite defiant statements from Pyongyang.
North Korea says new U.N. sanctions could bring about war on the Korean peninsula and will not slow its nuclear program.
Appearing on NBC's Meet The Press
program, Vice President Biden pledged enforcement of the sanctions, which include financial penalties and authorize searches of North Korean ships suspected of carrying nuclear materials or ballistic missile components.
"We are going to enforce the U.N. resolution," said Vice President Biden. "North Korea is a very destabilizing element in East Asia. Everyone now realizes that. The Chinese realize it. The Russians realize it. They have gone further than they have ever gone in joining us on real sanctions against North Korea. And it is important we make sure those sanctions stick [are enforced]."
Asked about North Korean threats, Biden observed that, as he put it, "They say a lot of things."
The vice president professed bafflement on what President Kim Jong Il hopes to achieve in the latest standoff with the international community.
"God only knows what he wants," said Biden. "There are all kinds of discussions, whether this is about succession - [President Kim] wanting his son to succeed him, and whether or not he is looking for respect, whether or not he really wants a nuclear capability to threaten the region. We cannot guess his motives. We just have to deal with the reality: that a North Korea that is proliferating weapons and missiles is a serious threat and danger to the world."
Tuesday, President Barack Obama is to meet with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak. President Lee has urged a stronger, more coordinated front with the five governments that have engaged Pyongyang in talks since 2003.