North Korea has fired 10 short-range rockets, South Korean defense officials say

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea has fired 10 short-range rockets, two South Korean defense officials said Sunday.

The rockets were fired from the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula toward the Sea of Japan, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified by name as a matter of security protocol.

"We estimate the rockets traveled about 70 kilometers in the open waters," one of the officials said.

Such actions have drawn criticism from South Korea and the West, but North Korea has defended the series of short-range launches it has carried out in recent weeks.

"It is justifiable self-defense behavior for us to conduct these military exercises in order to preserve peace in the region and to protect the safety of our people and our country," the government said, according to state-run media.

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