With all eyes on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Biden’s top Asia official on the National Security Council said Monday that the US can still focus on increasing its “engagement” in the Asia Pacific to counter China.
According to Reuters, Kurt Campbell, the Indo-Pacific coordinator on the National Security Council, pointed out that the US has been deeply engaged in two theaters simultaneously before, including during World War II and the Cold War.
“It’s difficult. It’s expensive. But it is also essential, and I believe that we’re entering a period where that is what will be demanded of the United States and this generation of Americans,” Campbell told an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund.
“There is a deep recognition and intention here inside the government, in the White House, to sustain every element of our engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” he added.
In a sign of President Biden’s efforts to maintain focus on the region, his administration sent a delegation of former US military officials to visit Taiwan on Monday. In another sign, a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, marking the second time this year the US Navy transited the sensitive waterway.
At the start of the Biden administration, US officials made clear that countering China would be the top foreign policy priority. This was demonstrated by an uptick in US military activity in the South China Sea during Biden’s first year in office. China views the US activity as a serious provocation and has grown closer to Russia as the two countries face similar pressure from the West.