Biden Nominates Asia Expert for Deputy Secretary of State

U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs, to be the State Department’s No. 2 diplomat behind Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In an email obtained by VOA and addressed to State Department staff members, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Campbell’s nomination “comes at a critical inflection point,” coinciding with the United States’ investment in an “unmatched network of alliances and partnerships” in the Indo-Pacific.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Campbell will replace Wendy Sherman, who retired on July 28.

Campbell was assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2009 to 2013 under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Biden administration policy calls for the U.S. to compete, contest and cooperate with China in an increasingly complex diplomatic and economic relationship.

“We are in competition with China, but we do not seek conflict, confrontation or a new Cold War. We are for managing the competition responsibly,” Campbell told reporters in a briefing on June 14 ahead of a visit by Blinken to Beijing.

The United States and China have been preparing for a meeting in November between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in San Francisco.

“I think continuing high-level engagement, practical areas of communication in an environment in which competition remains the dominant theme in our relationship, is what we can hope for and work towards,” Campbell said in a recent interview with China Talk, a newsletter focused on U.S.-China relations.

Campbell played a crucial role during the administration of former President Barack Obama in shaping Washington’s “pivot to Asia” policy, which reoriented U.S. foreign policy toward that region.

Campbell is married to Lael Brainard, who is Biden’s top economic adviser.

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