North Korea denies missile launches aimed at Pope

North Korea says its firing of three rockets shortly before Pope Francis arrived in the south Korean capital had nothing to do with the papal visit

The short range rockets were fired from multiple launchers from North Korea and travelled 220 km,  before landing in waters east of the Korean peninsula on August 14.

The last rocket was fired 35 minutes before Pope Francis was due to arrive at an air base in Seoul, where the Pontiff started a five-day visit to the south.

The test site was hundreds of kilometres (miles) away from the Pope’s plane.

North Korea fired two more projectiles from the same location later the same day.

”Our scientists do not know what the Pope has done for the people of the world, and especially for our nation, and we don’t feel any necessity to know about it. And we don’t know and are not interested in the purpose of his visit to Korea,” a North Korean spokesman said on state media.

The launches preceded the start of US-South Korean military exercises set for August 18.

Seoul and Washington say the exercises are defensive in nature, but North Korea regularly protests against what it sees as a rehearsal for war.

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