S. Korea: North Korea fires 3 short-range projectiles into the sea as pope visits rival Seoul

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South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea has fired three short-range projectiles into the sea.

An official with the ministry says the apparent test firing Thursday came less than an hour before rival Seoul welcomed the pope for the first papal visit to South Korea in 25 years. The official says that the projectiles were fired from Wonsan on the east coast and flew about 220 kilometers (135 miles). The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing official policy.

North Korea this year has conducted an unusually large number of missile and artillery test firings. Pyongyang has expressed anger over ongoing annual military drills between the United States and South Korea.

A new round of drills is expected to start in coming days.