Obama-era veteran Kurt Campbell to be White House Indo-Pacific coordinator

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell is pictured as he speaks to the media after meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has picked an Obama-administration veteran, Kurt Campbell, to be his White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific region, which covers the relationship with China, a spokeswoman for Biden’s transition said on Wednesday.

Campbell, who served as the top U.S. diplomat for Asia under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is considered one of the architects of their “pivot to Asia” strategy, a much vaunted but still limited U.S. rebalancing of resources to the region.

“I can confirm Kurt will be Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific at the NSC,” the transition spokeswoman said, referring to the White House National Security Council.

Campbell has since run the Asia Group business strategy consultancy and advised Biden’s campaign. He is co-founder of the Center for a New American Security think tank.

Campbell outlined his approach to Asia in a 2016 book entitled “The Pivot” in which he advocated strengthening existing alliances with Japan and South Korea and building closer relations with states like India and Indonesia in the face of a rising China.

He has since endorsed some of the tough approaches towards China adopted by the outgoing Trump administration and also praised some of Trump’s unprecedented dealings with North Korea.

In doing so, he has stressed the need for the new administration to rebuild and reconcile at home and backed away in his past support for a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that Washington negotiated under Obama and from which Trump withdrew.

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