When Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrived at the White House on Friday for his first meeting with Joe Biden — Biden's first in-person meeting with a foreign leader as president — it was unclear what to expect. Would it merely be an icebreaker, a chance for the new president to get to know Japan's still relatively new prime minister who had little experience on the world stage before ascending to the premiership?

By the end of the day, it was clear that the two governments had done far more than a meet-and-greet light on substance. The joint statement issued after the summit is nothing less than a complete re-imagining of the U.S.-Japan partnership for a new era.

Most importantly, for the first time, the two governments explicitly identified China as the preeminent challenge facing their alliance. Whereas past statements had alluded to maritime security threats and the need to uphold a rules-based international order, the new joint statement called out China by name, enumerating "activities that are inconsistent with the international rules-based order."