US point man on Korea affairs meets China diplomat

Washington's point man on Korean affairs is visiting Pyongyang's ally China amid moves to cool soaring tensions on the peninsula.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg met late Friday morning with China's top foreign policy official Dai Bingguo at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in the heart of Beijing.

Washington has been pressing China to use its influence to persuade North Korea's unpredictable hard-line communist regime to end recent provocations and return to disarmament talks.

In a bid to renew dialogue and ease chances of conflict, South Korea this week proposed holding a preliminary meeting with North Korea on Feb. 11 to prepare for high-level defense talks. On Friday, the North suggested parliamentary talks between the two sides.