The two leaders also planned to discuss a united response related to Russian aggression toward Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said.
President Joe Biden met virtually with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Friday morning to discuss regional security and other common threats, such as Covid, the climate crisis and partnering on cybersecurity.
The two countries are concerned about China’s aggression toward Taiwan, including stepped up military exercises near the self-governing island, which Beijing claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary.
Japan also remains concerned about China intentions in the South China Sea, where it has stepped up its military presence in recent years, and the East China Sea, where there is a long-running dispute about a group of uninhabited islets administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing.
Japanese officials said Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, is eager to discuss a “world without nuclear weapons” during the summit. The White House said that ahead of the meeting, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and his Japanese counterpart, Akiba Takeo, discussed North Korea, which suggested Thursday that it would resume testing of nuclear explosives and long-range missiles.
Biden and Kishida also planned to discuss a strong, united response related to Russian aggression toward Ukraine, a senior U.S. official said ahead of the meeting.
The meeting “will highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which is the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” the official said, adding the discussion will include “ways to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and a strong rules based order.”
Kishida’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, previewed the virtual discussion in a briefing earlier in the week.
“Japan hopes the first virtual meeting in 2022 between the two leaders will serve as an occasion to show the world the unwavering bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance as well as an opportunity to take the alliance to a higher level,” he said.
In a speech earlier this week, Kishida said that he hopes to build a relationship of trust with Biden and to work with the U.S. toward a nuclear-free world, and also raised the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea and his intention to collaborate with Biden on the issue.