TOKYO - THERE are no signs North Korea has resumed nuclear activity at the site where it previously produced weapons-grade plutonium, a former US envoy was quoted as saying on Saturday after a trip to the country.

Mr Charles Pritchard, former top negotiator with North Korea, was quoted as saying that the Yongbyon complex - where the isolated state processed plutonium for past nuclear tests - did not appear to be in operation.

'My reaction is that the reactor, the 5-megawatt reactor, remains shut down, the cooling tower is still destroyed,' Mr Pritchard told reporters after a five-day trip to North Korea, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

'So at this point, I dont't believe there is any additional reprocessing or anything going on' at the reactor, the former top US negotiator with Pyongyang said at a Beijing airport, according to Kyodo.

South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae Young said in October that Pyongyang was restoring facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, its source of weapons-grade plutonium in the past.

He added it was 'quite possible' that Pyongyang was also enriching uranium for nuclear weapons. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper in South Korea reported in October, citing unidentified government sources, that North was preparing for a third nuclear test. But US and South Korean officials said there was no evidence of this.

No signs of nuclear processing