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N Korea 'again fires projectiles'

North Korea continued its string of rocket and missile firings, launching three short-range projectiles into the waters off its east coast ahead of a major holiday, Seoul said.

The projectiles flew about 130 miles before landing in the water, a South Korean defence official said. It was not immediately clear what sort of projectiles they were.

North Korea routinely test-fires missiles and rockets, but it has conducted an unusually large number of weapons tests this year, including the launch of a short-range projectile on Monday.

Pyongyang has expressed anger over US-South Korean military drills and various South Korean government policies. The North says the drills are invasion preparation. Seoul and Washington say they are routine and defensive.

The launch came as the Korean Peninsula begins celebrating a major holiday, similar to Thanksgiving in the United States. The three-day holiday starts on Monday, but many people were already travelling to visit family over the weekend.

Separately, yesterday, North Korea said it would send back a South Korean man who entered the North illegally, in an apparent conciliatory gesture.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim Sang-geun entered through a third country after having unspecified difficulties living in the South.

It said he asked to live in North Korea and bring his family members from the South but the country decided to repatriate him next Thursday.

South Korea's unification ministry said it has informed North Korea that it will take custody of him.

About 27,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea to avoid poverty and political suppression since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but South Koreans defecting to North Korea are uncommon.

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