South Korean President Moon Jae-in is visiting the White House on Friday, the second foreign leader who United States President Joe Biden has welcomed to Washington since taking office. On the agenda is very likely to be the global semiconductor chip shortage that’s paralysing the US car industry in addition to China’s dominance in the region.
Moon’s visit follows an April summit between Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga — and when the new government’s selection of opening acts sounds stage-managed, that’s no accident, say experts.
It’s clear that the Biden administration is focused on strategic competition with China as a primary foreign policy goal, or as a primary frame for thinking about the challenges that it faces from the entire world,” Scott Snyder, director of the US-Korea policy programme in the Council on Foreign Relations, told Al Jazeera. “It was very intentional that it started its foreign policy strategy in that way.”
The two visits from Asian heads of state come on the heels of an early March virtual meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the US, India, Australia and Japan — a meeting that was also designed to present a united front to China’s growing global influence.
Later in March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited South Korea and Japan before holding a stressed meeting with Chinese officials in Alaska.