| North Korea fired five short-range rockets into the East Sea on Thursday morning, just before Pope Francis arrived in South Korea.
According to Seoul`s military authorities, North Korea launched three rockets into the East Sea from the Wonsan area in the North between 9:30 a.m. and 9:55 a.m. Although the trajectories of the projectiles were different from the pope`s air route via Chinese aerial space into the Yellow Sea, the rockets were fired just 30 minutes to one hour before his arrival in the South. The rockets, fired from a transport-erector-launcher (TEL), flew about 220 kilometers before plunging into the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. Previous rockets fired by the North had a maximum range of 210 kilometers.
So far this year, the North has fired a total of 105 short-range projectiles, including the Rodong and Scud missiles and rockets, in 17 launches. Two additional rockets launched by the North at 12:56 p.m. and 1:05 p.m. on Thursday from the same location flew some 200 kilometers to fall into the East Sea.