WASHINGTON (AP), — The U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Fumio Kimio, the Japanese Prime Minister, on Friday to discuss their concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program as well as China’s increasing military assertiveness.

This virtual meeting is a result of North Korea’s earlier suggestion that it may resume long-range and nuclear missile testing, which has been suspended for over three years.


According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong Un was the North Korean leader of the Politburo meeting of Workers’ Party. There officials established policy goals to “immediately boost” military capabilities in order to counter “hostile moves” by the Americans.


Japan and the U.S. are both concerned by China’s growing aggression towards Taiwan. China claims Taiwan is its territory and self-governing. It can annexe Taiwan by force if necessary. China has intensified military exercises close to Taiwan in recent months. It frequently sends warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace.


Japan is concerned about China’s intentions in the South China Sea. China has increased its military presence there in recent years. Japan is also concerned about China’s intentions in the East China Sea. There is a long-running dispute over a group uninhabited islands that Tokyo claims but is not allowed to administer.


According to White House officials, the leaders would also discuss ongoing efforts in the COVID-19 epidemic and the brewing crisis within eastern Europe. Russia has positioned some 100,000 troops close to its border with Ukraine. Biden stated earlier this week that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will order an additional invasion of Ukrainian territory, but he didn’t believe Putin would want to go to war.


Japanese officials stated that Kishida, a Japanese national who was born in Hiroshima where the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb at end of World War II, is keen to talk about a “world with no nuclear weapons” during the summit.


Biden and his top aides sought to rally support from NATO partners and allies in order to impose harsh sanctions on Russia if it pursues military action.

According to the White House, Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor to Biden, and Takeo Akiba, his Japanese counterpart, had their own conference call on Thursday to discuss North Korea and China.


Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held virtual talks earlier in the month with Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s Foreign Minister, and Nobuo Kishi. These discussions covered North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s military maneuvering.


Friday’s virtual meeting is the first substantive exchange between the leaders since October, when Kishida was elected. They had a short conversation while they were attending the climate summit in Glasgow, November. Biden was the first to call Kishida on the morning of his second full day in office.


Biden, who is trying to place more emphasis on the Indo-Pacific in light of China’s rise to power, had a warm relationship built with Japan’s former prime minister Yoshihide, and hopes to establish a similar relationship with Kishida.