nuclear envoy-US Treasury official

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Senior officials from South Korea and the U.S. will sit down on Wednesday for talks on how to beef up punitive sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The talks between South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam and U.S. Treasury sanctions chief David Cohen come days after the U.S. imposed its own sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, Pyongyang's primary foreign exchange bank, and four officials responsible for the country's ballistic missile program.

The U.S. sanctions are in addition to the U.N. sanctions announced earlier this month that tightened restrictions on North Korea's financial dealings, notably its suspected "bulk cash" transfers.

Upon his arrival late Tuesday, Cohen said he would ask Seoul to join the U.S. sanctions.

"We are going to discuss with the government of South Korea about a whole range of possible issues to recent actions by North Korea," Cohen told Yonhap News Agency.

However, he said he "will leave it to the South Korean government to decide exactly how they want to respond."

Cohen, the U.S. Treasury sanctions chief, said the latest round of U.N. sanctions provided a "very strong foundation for the international community to work together to address the North Korean illicit missile and nuclear programs."

In response to the U.N. sanctions, North Korea has ratcheted up its bellicose rhetoric, warning almost daily that the Korean Peninsula is on the verge of a nuclear war.

The U.S. flew training missions of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea on Tuesday in a show of force against the North.

North Korea responded with another warning that it will take military action should the U.S. fly the B-52 bombers over the Korean Peninsula again.

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