Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )
US-China relations have sunk to their lowest point in decades. US President Joe Biden has sought to leverage ties with allies and partners to counter what Washington sees as increasing economic and military coercion by Beijing
White House Indo-Pacific co-ordinator Kurt Campbell said on Thursday that increased economic engagement in Asia would be a key element of US policy in the region for the year ahead.
Campbell, at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace webinar, said President Joe Biden had made clear the United States needs to be instrumental in the framing of economic and commercial engagement and trade practices in the Indo-Pacific as China`s influence grows.
"That`s an area where the United States, indeed, needs to step up its game," Campbell said, adding that the U.S. role must go beyond traditional trade and include digital engagement and technological standard setting.
"We`ve got to make clear that not only are we deeply engaged diplomatically, militarily, comprehensively, strategically – that we have an open, engaged, optimistic approach to commercial interactions, investment in the Indo Pacific," Campbell said.
"I think we well understand inside the Biden administration that 2022 will be about these engagements comprehensively across the region," he said, without providing specifics.
US-China relations have sunk to their lowest point in decades. US President Joe Biden has sought to leverage ties with allies and partners to counter what Washington sees as increasing economic and military coercion by Beijing.
His administration has touted its so-called AUKUS pact, under which the United States and Britain have agreed to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines - as well as leader-level summits between the United States, Australia, India and Japan - as evidence that US partnerships are causing China "heartburn."
But some Indo-Pacific countries, many of which count China as their largest trading partner, have lamented what they see as lacking US economic engagement, especially after former President Donald Trump backed away from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal.
(With inputs from agencies)