Pyongyang lifts war alert

North Korea lifted a two-week 'semi-war' alert but gave no sign that it was ready to compromise in the crisis prompted by its refusal to allow inspection of suspected nuclear weapons sites, Reuter reports from Tokyo.

The official Korean Central News Agency said the Supreme Commander, Kim Jong Il, the son and heir of President Kim Il Sung, had called off the nationwide alert imposed on 9 March, ostensibly to counter US-South Korean war games in the South. The 'Team Spirit' joint exercises wound up last week without incident. Mr Kim hailed his counter-measure as a total success.