SEOUL - 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 defence 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-US 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.