"At the same time, they believe stability in the north is an important national security goal. So they are attempting through a variety of measures to coax North Korea along a different path," Campbell says.
The intended southward path of the failed rocket, which would have taken it towards Australia, alienated a new set of Asian countries, including the Philippines and Indonesia, and this, US observers believe, is antithetical to Beijing's interests.
Campbell rejects the idea that Washington is pursuing a containment strategy against China.
This idea has been popularised in Australia by the academic, Hugh White, who argues that the US should abandon containment of China, reduce its military presence in Asia and make more strategic room for Beijing.
White's ideas have been taken up by a number of commentators and a small number of politicians, among whom the most prominent is the opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull.
Campbell says that characterisation of US policy is inaccurate. "The over-riding fact of Asia-Pacific diplomacy is that every country, including the US and Australia, seeks and desires a better relationship with Beijing," Campbell says.
"At the same time, countries want good relations with the US.
"The idea that we would construct a policy that runs hard into the central fact of Asian diplomacy is just wrong.
"Our strategy and our approach is much more nuanced than the public discussion sometimes indicates.
"What our policy is intended to do is convey a deep disposition to remain actively engaged in the Asia-Pacific. There will be adjustments to global and regional institutions as countries rise; that includes China and India and ASEAN."
Campbell also stresses that having a policy of deep engagement with China cannot rule out occasional disagreements.
"Having a policy of engagement does not mean just a complete open door," he says.
"There are still hard issues like intellectual property, military transparency, cyber security which require deep discussions and these are sometimes tense."
In a judgment which will surprise some Australians, Campbell says Canberra has had a big role in the formation of US policy towards China.
"I believe the US and Australia have worked very closely together on a host of issues -- on Indonesia in the 1990s; with Kevin Rudd on regional architecture issues; but it's really been on China where we have benefited the most from discussions with Australian colleagues.
"The US and Australia share very many common approaches. Our two countries recognise the importance of this moment."