North Korea is offering to resume talks with South Korea as soon as possible. South Korean officials say they are studying the proposal and have yet to offer an official response.

North Korea says the stalled dialogue with South Korea should be restarted without delay. The statement by a North Korean state committee was broadcast on Pyongyang radio.

The North Korean broadcast said talks between North and South Korea should resume as soon as possible to open what it termed a wider road to reconciliation, unity, and national unification.

The message is signed by Rim Dong Ok, a vice chairman of the North's Committee for Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland. It is addressed to Unification Minister Lim Dong-won, the top official in charge of Seoul's policy towards Pyongyang.

A June 2000 summit between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang inspired hopes for reconciliation after decades of cold war on the Korean peninsula. But contacts between the two nations have stalled for more than six months amid tensions between North Korea and the United States.

The North's proposal was broadcast one day before Chinese President Jiang Zemin is to begin a three-day visit to North Korea, the first by a Chinese leader in nine years. Chinese officials say Mr. Jiang plans to encourage North Korea to reopen dialogue with the South.