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Biden's trip to S. Korea, Japan to highlight US focus on Indo-Pacific: Campbell

Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and Indo-Pacific policy coordinator at the National Security Council, is seen delivering keynote remarks in a seminar jointly hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank and the Center for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Vrije Universteit Brussel in Washington on Monday in this image captured from the website of the CSIS. (CSIS)
Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and Indo-Pacific policy coordinator at the National Security Council, is seen delivering keynote remarks in a seminar jointly hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank and the Center for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Vrije Universteit Brussel in Washington on Monday in this image captured from the website of the CSIS. (CSIS)

WASHINGTON -- US President Joe Biden's upcoming trip to Seoul and Tokyo seeks to send a clear message that the US continues to remain committed to addressing various challenges in the region, a White House official said Monday.

Kurt Campbell, Indo-Pacific policy coordinator at the National Security Council, added the US also recognizes that larger and most pressing challenges for the country and the rest of the world lie in the Indo-Pacific region.

"The overriding message that we are seeking to send is that although there are urgent and immediate tasks ahead of us in Ukraine that are unavoidable and must be met by a transatlantic unity that is profound, deep and sustained, but at the same time, we must recognize that the larger, more fundamental challenges for the 21st century really lay in the Indo-Pacific region," Campbell said of Biden's upcoming trip.

The White House has said the president will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24.

It will mark Biden's first trip to Asia since taking office in January 2021. He will hold his first summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who began his five-year term at midnight on Tuesday (Seoul time).

Campbell noted the crisis in Ukraine had been expected to draw all US attention to Europe, leaving nothing left to focus on issues in the Indo-Pacific.

"That has been exactly the opposite of what has occurred," he insisted in a seminar, jointly hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, and the Center for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Vrije Universteit Brussel's School of Governance.

"In fact, what I have been struck by, first of all, is the level of engagement on Indo-Pacific countries around issues associated with Ukraine and Europe," added Campbell, underscoring the support of Asian countries for US-led sanctions against Russia, as well as their support for European countries that included diverting their natural gas supplies to European states.

He reiterated the need to engage with Asian countries to address global challenges, including the war in Ukraine.

"One of the areas that we need to really step up our game on between the United States and EU ... is, in fact, the Pacific areas where they do have interests and they do have capabilities to bring to bear," said Campbell.

"Much of our discussion to date has been about how the Indo Pacific, how Europe is tilting or more focused on the Indo-Pacific, but what we have also seen is a much greater interest across the Indo-Pacific in developments in Europe," he added. (Yonhap)

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