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North Fires Projectiles as Pope Francis Visits South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired three short-range projectiles Thursday less than an hour before Pope Francis made the first papal visit to South Korea in 25 years, officials said.

The apparent test firing was conducted from Wonsan on the North's east coast, and the projectiles flew about 135 miles, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules. It wasn't immediately clear what the projectiles were, but North Korea has conducted an unusually large number of short-range missile and artillery test firings this year.

Although North Korea declined an invitation to Seoul for the papal visit, Francis plans to reach out to North Korea during his five-day trip in a Mass for peace and reconciliation on the war-divided Korean Peninsula.

Image: Pope Francis arrives in South Korea on Thursday
Pope Francis shakes arrives Thursday in Seoul, South Korea on the first papal visit to the Asian nation in a quarter-century. Gregorio Borgia / AP

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— Associated Press