Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the 35th US president, has been nominated to serve as ambassador to Australia, the White House announced on Thursday.
She served as ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017 when Barack Obama was president.
Australia is a key US ally and that relationship has strengthened in response to China’s growing power and increasingly assertive behaviour in Asia and beyond.
Kennedy’s experience in Japan should be helpful in Canberra given that Australia and Japan are both members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, along with the US and India. The Quad, as it is known, has been expanding cooperation.
In September, the US, UK and Australia announced a security pact dubbed AUKUS that will help Canberra acquire US nuclear-powered submarines and expand its security reach in the Asia-Pacific region.
Kennedy was the first female US ambassador to Tokyo.
She was one of two children of assassinated president John F Kennedy who survived into adulthood. Her brother John Jr died in a light plane crash in 1999.
Kennedy trained as a lawyer and has co-written books on civil liberties and edited anthologies of poetry.
Meanwhile, Michelle Kwan, winner of two silver Olympic medals for the US in figure skating, was nominated as ambassador to Belize. She has served as an adviser to the US Department of State on women’s issues.
• Reuters with additional editing by George Russell.