Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will meet U.S. President Barack Obama for the first time on Friday in Washington in an attempt to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance in the face of security threats in the region, primarily from North Korea and China.

These talks will be particularly important now that China has identified "hostile United States policies" toward Pyongyang as the root cause of the North Korean nuclear problem. It has also voiced sympathy for North Korea, saying the country has a strong sense of insecurity after years of confrontation with the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

China doesn't want to be seen as the enabler of North Korea's nuclear program. At the same time, it continues to shield Pyongyang from international wrath by blaming the U.S. for North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Thus, while North Korea will be high on the Obama-Abe agenda, China will not be far behind. In fact, China is the main reason why Japan is so anxious to tighten its security relationship with the U.S.