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(photo credit: AP)
North Korea on Thursday acknowledged that it had test-fired missiles and vowed to launch more, threatening to take even stronger action if opponents of the tests put pressure on the country.
The further show of defiance by Pyongyang came amid intense diplomatic jockeying by the United States and its allies to prod the UN Security Council to take stern action against the North's seven missile tests on Wednesday.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry, in a statement made through the state-run Korean Central News Agency, insisted that the communist state had the right to test its missiles and argued the weapons were needed for defense.
"The successful missile launches were part of our military's regular military drills to strengthen self defense," said the statement. "As a sovereign country, this is our legal right and we are not bound by any international law or bilateral or multilateral agreements."
The ministry also appeared to confirm mounting fears in South Korea that the North was preparing for further launches. South Korean officials said intelligence showed continued activity at Northern missile sites.
Pyongyang also vowed to retaliate against efforts to interfere with the launches, but it did not elaborate.
"Our military will continue with missile launch drills in the future as part of efforts to strengthen self-defense deterrent. If anyone intends to dispute or add pressure about this, we will have to take stronger physical actions in other forms," the statement said.