A Dangerous Game Is Underway in Asia

This month, President Biden threw one of the most lavish state dinners in Washington’s recent memory. Celebrities and billionaires flocked to the White House to dine in honor of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, posing for photos in front of an elaborate display of Japanese fans. Jeff Bezos dropped by; Paul Simon provided the entertainment.

The spectacle was part of a carefully orchestrated series of events to showcase the renewed U.S.-Japan relationship — and the notable transformation of the United States’ security alliances in Asia. The next day, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines was also in the U.S. capital for a historic U.S.-Japan-Philippines summit, during which a new trilateral security partnership was announced.

Both events were directed at the same audience: China.

Over the past several years, Washington has built a series of multilateral security arrangements like these in the Asia-Pacific region. Although U.S. officials claim that the recent mobilization of allies and partners is not aimed at China, don’t believe it. Indeed, Mr. Kishida emphasized in a speech to Congress on April 11 that China presents “the greatest strategic challenge” both to Japan and to the international community.