One of the most important challenges for U.S. foreign policy is to effect a transition from the immediate and vexing challenges of the Middle East to the long-term and deeply consequential issues in Asia," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said recently in an interview with an Australian newspaper.
Assistant Secretary Campbell’s remarks show the United States’ strong sense of its security and economic commitments in Asia. The bedrock of U.S. engagement in the region is its alliances. The United States has deepened its alliances with Japan and the Republic of Korea as part of its broader effort to foster a peaceful and prosperous regional environment in East Asia, as well as in Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Assistant Secretary Campbell has noted in particular the U.S.-Australian Alliance as a central part of the Asia-Pacific security architecture. "The U.S.-Australia Alliance is...stronger and more durable than ever. I'm certain it is moving to become a more intimate alliance."
In addition to its commitment to its alliances, the United States is also building deeper relationships with other Asian partners.
"I think what you see is an across-the-board effort [by the United States] to articulate India as playing a greater role in Asia, and also revitalizing relations with ASEAN -- both ASEAN as an institution, and with its key members, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, and revitalizing what used to be a very important relationship with The Philippines," he said.
"When we travelled through Asia . . . it became clear that what [many] Asians were interested in hearing about was the continued effectiveness and relevance of the United States."
Assistant Secretary Campbell also made clear that despite the U.S. presence in Asia, he does not see U.S. diplomacy in Asia as a zero sum game between Washington and Beijing. While recognizing the important and complex diplomatic and economic bilateral relationship between the two countries, the United States is taking many measures to promote cooperation and understanding with China.