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U.S. Seeks Chinese Backing In Easing Korea Tensions

Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special representative for North Korea
The United States' envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, met with Chinese officials in Beijing today to discuss ways of easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

A U.S. Embassy statement said Bosworth's talks with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and other officials had been "useful."

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said the two sides had reaffirmed their pledge to "maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula" and facilitate six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

The talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. They have been stalled for nearly two years.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been at their highest level for years after North Korea shelled a South Korean island in November, killing four people.

China has come under growing pressure to rein in North Korea, its close ally, and persuade it to return to the negotiating table.

Bosworth is due to travel to Japan later today.

compiled from agency reports