White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit President Joe Biden at the White House in May but did not directly answer a question on whether the bilateral is meant to send a “message to China.”
The visit will mark the second U.S. ally Biden will host in-person, following shortly on the heels of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Friday visit to D.C. However, Psaki did not directly answer a question from the Associated Press’ Aamer Madhani on whether Biden is “sending a message to China with who he’s picking first.” (RELATED: Top Trump Admin Official Praises Biden For Adopting ‘Nearly All’ Of His Predecessor’s China Policies)
“Well, I think, first the president is looking forward to welcoming the prime minister tomorrow, and it is significant that our first in-person bilateral is with Japan,” Psaki responded. “It emphasizes our important relationship and all of the cooperative work we are doing together.”
“I will say that of course our approach to China and our shared coordination on that front will be part of the discussion, as will our joint commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea. Security will be a prominent issue, regional security as well,” she continued. “I would anticipate that China will be a part of those discussions.”
The Biden administration has maintained a focus on China as the United States’ most important international competitor. The president’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2022 marked a sizeable increase in defense spending, citing the need to counter China’s global posture.
Biden has also kept “nearly all” of former President Donald Trump’s economic policies toward China and has even pledged to increase corporate incentives to re-shore manufacturing jobs.
You can watch Thursday’s full press briefing below.