As recently as last week, Chinas embassy in Canberra threatened that China-Australia relations will only sustain further damage after Australia granted a visa to a Hong Kong pro-democracy politician, Ted Hui Chi-fung.
Its almost an obvious statement of the role of allies and the importance of Australia that we are not going to leave Australia alone on the field, said Dr Campbell.
Its just not going to happen. I want to underscore this that reality should not come as a surprise. This matter has been raised in every meeting [with Chinese officials] and it will be underscored in interactions in Anchorage later this week, when the US secretaries of state and defence are scheduled to meet their Chinese counterparts in the first major face-to-face contact between the Biden administration and Beijing.
That, in and of itself, is a substantial step, Dr Campbell said. He added that US economic officials would be discussing further options with Australian and other counterparts.
I think there are other steps that economic officials will explore. Its not simply Australia that has been the target of these undeclared kind of steps weve seen it in the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and others. This is a shared concern and one that I think is worthy of further dialogue.
Mr Biden has kept in place all the punitive tariffs and other sanctions that his predecessor Donald Trump applied to China. He said in December that he would consult with US allies in Asia and Europe before making any decision on the China sanctions so we can develop a coherent strategy.
The Biden administrations approach is fundamentally different to the Trump administrations. The US under Mr Trump did not take account of its allies priorities in its trade and other dealings with the Chinese government.
Mr Biden has a much closer focus on working with allies, not alienating them or threatening them or extorting host nation support [for US troops] or suggesting were going to pull forces out of the region, much more seeing allies as force multipliers, Dr Campbell said.
The executive director of the Lowy Institute, Michael Fullilove, has described Dr Campbell as Mr Australia in Washington, noting he had been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia and was a friend to recent prime ministers, including Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull. He also described him as Washington DCs pre-eminent Asian policy specialist.
The inaugural summit of the Quad leaders Mr Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Morrison agreed to finance, manufacture and distribute an extra 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to needy nations of south-east Asia by the end of 2022.
The grouping is meant to send a signal about our system of government all four Quad nations are democracies and our ultimate optimism to be able to deal with challenges, Dr Campbell explained. The leaders also set up working groups on other areas and agreed to meet in person by the end of the year.