Biden nominates JFK’s daughter Caroline as envoy to Australia

In this file photo taken on May 19, 2016, then US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy leaves after meeting with then Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the foreign ministry in Tokyo. (JIJI PRESS / AFP)

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated Caroline Kennedy to be US ambassador to Australia and Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan as ambassador to Belize, the White House said.

Caroline Kennedy was the first female US ambassador to Japan

Kennedy, 64, is the daughter of John Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States who was assassinated in 1963. She previously served as US ambassador to Japan from 2013-2017 under former president Barack Obama.

Kwan is the winner of two silver Olympic medals in figure skating. She has served as an adviser to the US Department of State on women's issues.

Kennedy's experience in Japan should be helpful in Canberra given that Australia and Japan are both members of the so-called Quad grouping, which includes the United States and India.

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In September, the United States, Britain and Australia announced a security pact dubbed AUKUS that will help Australia acquire US nuclear-powered submarines and expand its security reach in the IndoPacific region.

Kennedy was the first female US ambassador to Japan. She trained as an attorney and has co-authored books on civil liberties and edited anthologies of poetry.

It was unclear when Kennedy might be confirmed in her post, which requires Senate approval. Senate Republicans have been blocking dozens of Biden's nominees for diplomatic posts, including Nicholas Burns to be ambassador to China since his nomination in August.