© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Caroline Kennedy addresses the crowd during the JFK Space Summit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Katherine Taylor/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Caroline Kennedy, a former ambassador to Japan and daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, as the U.S. ambassador to Australia, an important ally to the United States.
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. She previously served as U.S. 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 behavior 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.
Kennedy succeeds Arthur Culvahouse, who left the position in early 2021, when former Republican President Donald Trump left office.
Kennedy was one of a handful of nominees approved by voice vote on Thursday, along with Marc Nathanson to be ambassador to Norway, John Nkengasong to be ambassador at large to combat HIV-AIDS globally, MaryKay Loss Carlson as ambassador to the Philippines and Philip Goldberg as ambassador to South Korea.