U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday condemned North Korea’s apparent intercontinental ballistic missile test and agreed to work together to hold Pyongyang “accountable,” according to the White House.
The two leaders, who briefly talked on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit meeting in Brussels, also affirmed their continued unity in dealing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Biden thanking Kishida for Japan’s “robust response,” it said.
Kishida was heading to Belgium from Japan when North Korea carried out what appeared to be the first ICBM launch since November 2017, following a series of missile tests earlier this year.
Biden conveyed to Kishida the “rock solid” U.S. commitment to the security of Japan and South Korea. The two leaders agreed that North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities, including Thursday’s test, pose a clear and serious challenge to the international community, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
They also agreed to continue discussions toward beefing up the bilateral alliance, using such occasions as Biden’s planned visit to Japan in the first half of this year.
As Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine continues, Kishida and Biden agreed that they should not tolerate unilateral changes to the status quo in any region and that they should make clear that such attempts will carry severe costs, the ministry said.
Concerns linger over China’s territorial claims in its neighboring waters as well as toward Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island which Beijing views as a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Cooperation in dealing with North Korea was also discussed when Kishida met separately with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.
Kishida also affirmed with the two leaders that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “serious situation that shakes the foundation of the overall international order, including Asia,” according to the Japanese ministry.
He agreed with the two leaders on the importance of working jointly toward achieving a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”