Washington: President Joe Biden on Wednesday named Caroline Kennedy as the US ambassador to Australia, giving a new public role to the once reticent scion of the celebrated political dynasty.
John F. Kennedy’s sole surviving child, who will need Senate confirmation, previously served as ambassador to Japan under president Barack Obama.
The nomination, which had long been rumoured, comes nearly a year into Biden’s presidency as his Republican rivals delay many of his key diplomatic appointments in the Senate.
The former first daughter, 64, had brushed aside decades of calls within her Democratic Party to run for office, preferring a more quiet life that included writing on civil liberties and working at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
But she shot back into prominence as a forceful advocate for Obama during the 2008 election, describing the future first Black president — under whom Biden served as vice president - as an inspirational figure that reminded her of her father.
Australia and Japan are among the closest US allies, with US ambassadors historically enjoying warm welcomes.
But in Australia, much like in Japan, Kennedy will seek to bolster the US relationships as tensions rise sharply with a growing China.
Biden in September announced a new three-way alliance with Australia and Britain in which Australia is on track to obtain US nuclear-powered submarines.