With the expanded framework, the alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the United States together with the three new partners will strengthen intelligence activities that go beyond the analysis of North Korean ballistic missiles currently undertaken by Japan, South Korea and the United States, the sources said.

Officials from the eight countries gathered last fall and discussed how best to collect information on North Korea, according to the Japanese and U.S. government sources.

The Five Eyes also have the idea of developing the partnership with the three countries into one that facilitates the exchange of intelligence on China’s growing military muscle, the sources said.

The United States has sought to build the framework of “Five Eyes plus” with friendly countries to counter threats in new realms, including space and cybersecurity where China is also increasing its power.