North Korea Fires Short-range ‘Projectiles’ into Sea

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North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast Thursday, South Korea said, as Pope Francis arrived in Seoul for a five-day visit.

“North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the East Sea (Sea of Japan),” a defense ministry spokesman said.

Pope Francis is expected to send a message of peace to Pyongyang when he conducts a special inter-Korean “reconciliation” mass in Seoul on the last day of his visit.

Church officials in the South had sent several requests to Pyongyang to send a group of Catholics to attend the event, but the North declined the offer, citing its anger at upcoming South Korea-U.S. military drills.

The Catholic Church, like any other religion, is only allowed to operate in North Korea under extremely tight restrictions, and within the confines of the state-controlled Korean Catholics Association.

It has no hierarchical links with the Vatican and there are no known Catholic priests or nuns.

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