How should new U.S. President Joe Biden deal with China? Any successful strategy begins with defining the challenge, writes Stephen R. Nagy in an in-depth look at policy toward the world’s No. 2 power. And how the Biden administration defines it will shape its approach to China and the Indo-Pacific region over the next four years.

While the return to normalcy under Biden is welcomed by many, the strong undercurrent of nostalgia for some of the more combative elements of the Trump administration — particularly his stance on China — among a swath of both Japan officialdom and the public is undeniable. However, this sentiment is unfounded and misguided for three reasons, argues Kindai University associate professor Carlos Ramirez.

Meanwhile, ex-diplomat Kuni Miyake has been keeping an eye on the daily briefings held by Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki. “The answers were almost perfect,” writes Miyake, until she got to China and dropped in the phrase “strategic patience,” which happened to be the policy adopted by the Obama administration toward North Korea. Needless to say, Japan’s rightwing media did not miss the reference.

China says attempts to contain country will be 'impossible' | CNA
China says attempts to contain country will be ‘impossible’ | CNA

Under America’s new leadership, mutual understanding on a number of issues and a return to political normalcy in the United States should further strengthen U.S.-Japan relations, writes Japan Society President Joshua W. Walker. In a time of crisis — in terms of not just the coronavirus pandemic but also the climate and China — closer ties have never been more critical.

One task that needs to be wrapped up between the allies before the end of March is a new deal on Japan’s bill for hosting U.S. troops. As expected, Japan has proposed signing a tentative one-year deal while negotiations on a longer-term agreement continue, government sources said Sunday.

But with the U.S. hobbled by the pandemic and deeply divided, can it be relied upon to follow through on decisions it reaches with its allies? Even if Japan strikes a deal with the current administration, there is always the fear that it may be overturned in four years, writes commentator Yoichi Funabashi. How should the leaders of American allies deal with the U.S. in its current state?