North Korea's chief nuclear envoy appealed for long-stalled talks on its atomic programme to resume "without preconditions" on Thursday, Korean media said, days after reports it may have restarted a reactor.

The comments in Beijing by Pyongyang's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan comes after satellite imagery showed that the main plutonium reactor at its ageing Yongbyon nuclear facility may be back up and running . The development last week was met with grave concern and Russian warnings of a Chernobyl-like disaster given the reactor's "nightmarish state".AFP