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N Korea fires 7th missile: Japan -

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N Korea fires 7th missile: Japan

Reporter: Shane McLeod

MAXINE McKEW: Today's missile test-firing by North Korea has sparked diplomatic outrage around the
world but Pyongyang remains defiant, with reports that a seventh missile has been launched this
evening. Tonight, a North Korean foreign ministry official said the missile testing was a matter of
national sovereignty and not subject to any international agreements. North Asia correspondent
Shane McLeod reports.

SHANE MCLEOD: Six North Korean missiles launched before breakfast had certainly caught the world's
attention.

THOMAS SCHIEFFER, US AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: Our message is that this is a very provocative act and
that we would hope that they would cease and desist from this kind of provocative acts.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: This is an extremely worrying development.

JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (TRANSLATION): Whatever their motivation, there is
nothing positive to be gained out of this, and North Korea should think hard about this once more.

SHANE MCLEOD: This evening came a seventh - a sign that North Korea's not backing down, despite
international condemnation.

RI PYONG DOK, NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL (TRANSLATION): Concerning the issue of the
missile, it is a matter of our national sovereignty. No-one has the right to say whether that is
right or wrong - this issue cannot be bound by any agreement or document.

SHANE MCLEOD: Of the six fired this morning, one is believed to be a Taepodong 2 - a long-range
missile that security analysts believe could reach targets on mainland North America. Some now
think today's launch was a failure.

ANTHONY CORDESMAN, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: To have it blow up shortly after it took off,
and while it was still in the first stage is much more an indication of North Korea's incompetence
than it is that North Korea's a threat.

SHANE MCLEOD: Australia is one of the few Western countries to maintain diplomatic links with North
Korea.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: I told the North Korean Ambassador that we condemn the testing
of the missiles, that it did very much heighten concerns about security in North Asia -
particularly bearing in mind that North Korea was apparently testing long-range missiles and it was
a country that was developing nuclear weapons.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN: China, I think is deeply concerned by these
developments, as is everybody in the region.

SHANE MCLEOD: The fact that North Korea test-fired a long-range missile has renewed concerns about
its nuclear programs. Six-party talks involving Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United
States have been stalled since late last year. Some believe North Korea is trying to force America
back to the negotiating table.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE: I do think that we do have to see this as a
provocation, but not over-react, because the message out of Iraq is one that those who do not have
nuclear weapons get invaded and those who do, don't get invaded. And so he is reading the messages
from that.

SHANE MCLEOD: Japan has already announced sanctions, banning North Korean ships and aircraft from
using its ports, and refusing entry to North Korean government officials.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet in a few hours' time and Japan and the
United States are expected to be among countries calling for action over the missile tests. Whether
that succeeds is likely to hinge on China. North Korea's closest ally is seen as the key to
negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Shane McLeod, Lateline.