North Korea offers south an olive branch

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A day after apologising for a submarine incursion into South Korea, North Korea said yesterday it was ready to take the first steps towards peace talks and would resume dismantling its nuclear threat.

Yet, in a day of mixed signals, it lashed out at "butchers" in Seoul as the ashes of 24 North Koreans shot after landing in the South from a submarine were handed back across the border. Its praise of the infiltrators as "martyrs" and "heroes" contrasted with its words of contrition on Sunday. Reuters - Seoul