US President Joe Biden will travel to Japan this spring for an in-person summit of Quad alliance members, the White House said after Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.
Details on the timing of the meeting of the Quad - a regional security alliance including the US, Japan, Australia and India - have yet to be worked out, with arrangements dependent on the spread of Covid-19.
The virtual meeting featured wide-ranging discussions on the US-Japanese military alliance, tension in the Taiwan Strait and China's growing nuclear arsenal, a senior administration official said.
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The two leaders also agreed to a new "2+2" forum aimed at strengthening economic cooperation - especially technology and supply chain issues - between the two nations and across the region.
"The close alignment between United States and Japan was really on full display - so, very broad discussion on security, on views about the challenges in the Indo Pacific," including "very in-depth discussions" on China, the administration official said.
These included shared concerns about "some of the steps that China had taken across the board in terms of intimidating neighbours, taking steps that were predatory trade in other realms," he added. "Prime Minister Kishida was particularly concerned about the nuclear build-up in China and what that augured for regional security."
Nuclear containment is an issue of particular urgency for Japan - the only nation to suffer nuclear attacks - and for Kishida, who is from Hiroshima.
The US Defence Department estimates that China has some 350 deliverable nuclear warheads, a figure that could double by 2027 and triple by 2030. While these are a fraction of the estimated 6,200 warheads for Russia and 5,600 for the US, according to Federation of American Scientists, Beijing has balked at joining nuclear arms control agreements.
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