Biden picks top Asia aide as nominee for deputy secretary of state

US President Joe Biden chose his top Asia aide as the nominee for deputy secretary of state, the White House said Wednesday, as Washington maintains its strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific despite growing tensions in the Middle East and Russia's war in Ukraine.

The White House said Biden expressed his intent to designate Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, for the State Department's No. 2 post that has been left vacant since former Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman retired in July.

Campbell's nomination appears to underscore the Biden administration's steady commitment to focusing on the Indo-Pacific region, which it has cast as the "epicenter" of geopolitics in the 21st century.

Campbell has served as deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for the Indo-Pacific since January 2021. From 2009 to 2013, he worked as the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

He is known to be an architect of the "Pivot to Asia" policy, also known as the "rebalancing policy," under the Barack Obama administration. The policy was designed to refocus on the Asia-Pacific region rising as a fulcrum of global power and wealth.

Campbell has also been a key driver of the Biden administration's policy efforts to revitalize the US' alliances and partnerships with Indo-Pacific countries, including South Korea and Japan. The efforts were highlighted by the strengthening of trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

He is well-versed in Korean Peninsula affairs given his extensive experience related to Asia. In July, he attended the inaugural meeting in Seoul of the Nuclear Consultative Group, a key deterrence dialogue body between the allies.

Campbell is to undergo a Senate confirmation process for his appointment. (Yonhap)