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Biden ‘committed’ to avoiding China confrontation: Kurt Campbell

  • October 25, 2021
  • , Nikkei Asia , 1:49 p.m.
  • English Press

AKANE OKUTSU, Nikkei staff writer


TOKYO — U.S. President Joe Biden is committed to avoiding confrontation with China despite ongoing political tensions, his chief diplomat for the Indo-Pacific region told a Nikkei-sponsored event on Monday.


“We are trying to clearly explain to Chinese interlocutors that the dominant paradigm for U.S.-China relations going forward is going to be one of competition,” Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, told the Nikkei Virtual Global Forum.


“The Biden administration remains committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that competition does not veer towards confrontation,” he said. He added that it is critical for the superpowers to work on building confidence, and to ensure they have capabilities for communicating in a crisis.


Campbell also emphasized the need to “ensure that the U.S.-China engagement serves the interests … of other countries in the Indo-Pacific.”


He suggested that the U.S. should continue shifting its strategic focus from the Middle East and South Asia toward the Indo-Pacific. But he explained that domestic politics would have implications for this.


“If the United States is to continue to play a substantial dynamic role in the Indo-Pacific, then we must make the appropriate investment at home,” he said, citing infrastructure bills that would enable technology innovation and “other arenas of competition that will be essential.”


The domestic agenda also includes bipartisan engagement. “A huge part of my job is outreach to Republican friends and colleagues to speak about issues that frankly drive Americans more together than divide us — these are issues associated with the challenges and opportunities ahead in the Indo-Pacific,” Campbell said.

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