U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Japan has the capacity to acquire nuclear weapons "virtually overnight."

Speaking at a Public Broadcasting Service program aired Monday, Biden said he had urged Xi to exert influence on North Korea so it will abandon its missile and nuclear weapons developments.

Referring to Pyongyang's recent nuclear test and missile launches in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Biden said that if China and the United States fail to take effective action against North Korea, "What happens if Japan, who could go nuclear tomorrow? They have the capacity to do it virtually overnight."