(CNN) – There are signs that the international policy to isolate North Korea from its traditional allies is working, despite the Pyongyang regime's weekend firing of seven-short range missiles toward the Sea of Japan, Vice President Joe Biden says.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on the ABC program "This Week," Biden called efforts by the United States and others to forge a unified response to North Korea's potential nuclear threat "a significant turning in pressure."
He noted that a North Korean ship believed to be carrying weapons-related materials turned back toward North Korea when tracked by U.S. naval ships as part of U.N. sanctions recently approved by the Security Council.
"No port would take it," Biden said, citing the development as a sign of new international resolve demonstrated by China - the longtime ally and benefactor of North Korea - signing onto the Security Council resolution.
"We have succeeded in uniting the most ... critical countries to North Korea on a common path to isolating" Pyongyang, Biden said.
Continuing such pressure would force North Korea to make "difficult decisions" as it faces the rumored ill health of longtime leader Kim Jong Il, Biden said.
The Security Council sanctions included cutting off new grants, loans and export credits and barring shipments of weapons-related material.