President-elect Joe Biden has appointed old Asia hand Kurt Michael Campbell to a new position of Indo-Pacific coordinator at the National Security Council.
Campbell, formerly Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under the Barack Obama administration, was one of the architects of Obama's East Asia Strategy. This called for strengthening bilateral security alliances, deepening America's working relationships with emerging powers - including China - and advancing democracy and human rights.
As Indo-Pacific coordinator, Campbell will manage Security Council matters relating to China and the rest of Asia. He is expected to adopt an Asia strategy to deal with the current confrontational strategic competition with China.
Campbell will report to incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan - a former colleague at the Department of State during the Bill Clinton administration, The Washington Post reported.
In late 2019 Campbell and Sullivan wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that they dismissed the failed strategy that sought to engage China in hopes it would liberalize. They said competition with China needed to revolve around a goal of coexistence.
"Although coexistence offers the best chance to protect U.S. interests and prevent inevitable tension from turning into outright confrontation, it does not mean the end of competition or surrender on issues of fundamental importance," they wrote. "Instead, coexistence means accepting competition as a condition to be managed rather than a problem to be solved."
Campbell said in the same publication this past Tuesday that the U.S. could "shore up" the international order in Asia by restoring a balance of power with China, bolstering alliances and then using those alliances to push back on China.
He is currently chairperson and chief executive officer of The Asia Group.