Caroline Kennedy confirmed by US Senate as next ambassador to Australia – ABC News

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Caroline Kennedy confirmed by US Senate as next ambassador to Australia
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The US Senate has confirmed Caroline Kennedy, a former ambassador to Japan and daughter of the late President John F Kennedy, as the US ambassador to Australia.
Ms Kennedy previously served as US ambassador to Japan from 2013-2017 under former president Barack Obama.
She heads to Canberra as its relationship with Washington strengthens in response to China's growing power and increasingly assertive behaviour in Asia and beyond.
Like Japan, Australia is a member of the so-called Quad grouping, along with the United States and India, which has been expanding cooperation in the face of China's rise.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Twitter welcomed Ms Kennedy's confirmation and said Australia looks forward to deepening cooperation with the United States. 
She succeeds Arthur Culvahouse, who left the position in early 2021, when former Republican President Donald Trump left office.
Ms Kennedy, 64, is an author and attorney.
Her father was the 35th president of the United States, who served from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
Ms Kennedy's confirmation comes weeks after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China, amid heightened fears in Australia and the US that the deal could be used to expand China's military presence in the Pacific. 
Under questioning from US senators before her confirmation, Ms Kennedy praised efforts to re-open the US embassy in Honiara, saying it "can't come soon enough".
"If confirmed, I would work very hard with Australia [on this]," she said in February.
"Australia has a very active embassy in every Pacific Island nation, and it's been a historic area of US engagement as well."
The new ambassador will play a large role working on the AUKUS relationship and help Australia acquire and maintain nuclear-powered submarines. 
She may have to contend with conflicting views between the Biden administration and Australian government over action on climate change. 
Caroline Kennedy has fronted the US Senate as part of her confirmation process to become the next US ambassador to Australia. Here's what she has had to say on the biggest issues she will have to deal with. 
"The more we can learn about and learn how to combat [climate change] and move towards a clean energy transition and reduce the impact of climate change, the faster we can do that — if confirmed, I'd be eager to work on that," she told senators.
Ms Kennedy was one of a handful of nominees approved by voice vote on Thursday. 
Philip Goldberg was appointed as US ambassador to South Korea. Mr Goldberg is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and has been serving as US ambassador to Colombia.
Senator Jon Ossoff said shortly before the Senate action that it was critical for the US to have Mr Goldberg in Seoul, citing North Korea's launch on Wednesday of a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters.
“South Korea is one of our most important trading partners. South Korea is one of our most important security partners," Senator Ossoff said.
“We need a US ambassador to lead our mission in South Korea."
The Senate also confirmed Mark Nathanson to be ambassador to Norway, MaryKay Loss Carlson to be ambassador to the Philippines, and John Nkengasong to coordinate US efforts to combat HIV-AIDS globally.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
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