Concerns Rise Over US Neglect of North Korea Amid Biden’s Foreign Policy Shift
FT “Biden, Focused on Ukraine and Middle East Wars, ignores North Korea Issue”
The White House’s overseer of Asian issues, such as North Korea and Taiwan, has moved to the Department of State. There are concerns that the U.S.’s policy on North Korea and other Asian issues may be relegated to the back burner.
According to the Washington Post (WP) and the Financial Times (FT), the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Kurt Campbell, who has been overseeing the White House’s Asia policy, as a candidate for the Deputy Secretary of State with 92 votes in favor and 5 against on December 6 (local time). Campbell has been overseeing issues in the Indo-Pacific region while leading the consolidation of Asian alliances at the National Security Council (NSC).
He played a significant role in maintaining close relationships with allied countries in the Asian region, such as revitalizing the “Quad,” a regional consultative body involving the U.S., Australia, India, and Japan, and leading the tripartite summit among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan.
Campbell served as the Deputy Secretary of State for Asia during the Obama administration and has been shaping the policy towards China and Asia at the NSC since the inauguration of the Joe Biden administration. President Biden recognized his contributions and nominated him as the Under Secretary of State in November last year, which was approved by the Senate.
His departure to the Department of State left a huge void in the NSC’s Asia policy. The FT analyzed, “The White House does not plan to appoint an Asia coordinator until the next government is launched. The White House’s focus on containing China has shifted to Ukraine and the Middle East wars. As President Biden focuses on the Democratic primary elections, Asian issues are pushed back.”
Evan Medeiros, a former senior advisor who worked on Asian affairs during the Obama administration, also assessed, “The White House’s influence on Asia has now disappeared, creating enormous anxiety among Asian and European allies.”