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On its face, Joe Biden’s trip to East Asia this week was a fairly typical international tour by a U.S. president. After visiting South Korea and meeting its new president, Biden went to Japan for a similar set of meetings with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials.

Much of the language emanating from Biden’s trip has been boilerplate about U.S. partnerships: working hand-in-hand, shared values, ironclad alliances and so on.

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