A close aide to North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un has justified the country's latest ballistic missile launches in a statement carried by state media.
Ri Pyong Chol, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, said via the Korean Central News Agency on Saturday that the launches were tantamount to a sovereign state's right to exercise self-defense.
He also said they were to counter the military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States this month.
US President Joe Biden has said the launches violate UN Security Council resolutions. Ri called his remarks an encroachment on North Korea's right to self-defense.