New US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy Lands in Sydney

The new U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, has arrived in Sydney where she will begin her ambassadorship with a focus on regional security and climate change.Kennedy, 64, was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May and sworn in on June 10. “Everybody is so excited about working together in the Quad and in the Pacific,” she told reporters on July 22, in comments obtained by AAP. “China certainly has a big presence here in the region, but our partnership is what I’ll be focused on. There’s a big agenda, and I can’t wait to get started.” Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, served as U.S. ambassador to Japan between 2013 and 2017 under former President Barack Obama. She was five when her father was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963. She has long been considered a candidate for the high-profile role after showing support for Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency. “He [Biden] radiated American optimism and generosity of spirit. He made clear that America would always stand by our allies and that we were committed to keeping the region peaceful and prosperous,” she wrote in a Boston Globe editorial on Feb. 4, 2020. China a Major Focus Kennedy told reporters the Pacific region was a “big focus” of the Biden administration. “The U.S. needs to do more. We’re putting our embassies back in, and the Peace Corps is coming, and USAID is coming back. “We haven’t been there for a while, but that’s all tremendously positive. The U.S. and Australia working together will make a big, big impact.” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced in mid-July a swathe of initiatives aimed at strengthening its influence in the Pacific amid increasing competition with Beijing. The U.S. will dispatch the Peace Corps. to the region, establish embassies in Kiribati and Tonga, appoint the first-ever U.S. Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, and look at reestablishing a U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Mission for the Pacific to deal with natural disasters and humanitarian aid. Yet Cleo Paskal, an expert on the South Pacific, says the focus on the Pacific Islands Forum would just double-up on work already being done in existing regional bodies. “If you want to reach all the Pacific Islands and work on scientific and practical research and solutions for some of the region’s critical challenges, these are the organisations [the Pacific Community and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme] where you’ll find the experts who can get the job done,” she wrote in the Sunday Guardian Live. “The region urgently needs practical solutions to real-world problems, so countries aren’t destabilised and become easier prey for Beijing. That means understanding the operating environments of every country individually, and then working together to get things (not policy papers) done.” Meanwhile, former Admiral Michael Rogers has said the U.S. is motivated to push through Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS agreement. “The good news is that clearly is the intent of both the U.S. government, the Australian government, we want to aggressively meet the timeline,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Rogers headed the U.S. Cyber Command under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Follow Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected]

New US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy Lands in Sydney

The new U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, has arrived in Sydney where she will begin her ambassadorship with a focus on regional security and climate change.

Kennedy, 64, was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May and sworn in on June 10.

“Everybody is so excited about working together in the Quad and in the Pacific,” she told reporters on July 22, in comments obtained by AAP.

“China certainly has a big presence here in the region, but our partnership is what I’ll be focused on. There’s a big agenda, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, served as U.S. ambassador to Japan between 2013 and 2017 under former President Barack Obama. She was five when her father was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963.

She has long been considered a candidate for the high-profile role after showing support for Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency.

“He [Biden] radiated American optimism and generosity of spirit. He made clear that America would always stand by our allies and that we were committed to keeping the region peaceful and prosperous,” she wrote in a Boston Globe editorial on Feb. 4, 2020.

China a Major Focus

Kennedy told reporters the Pacific region was a “big focus” of the Biden administration.

“The U.S. needs to do more. We’re putting our embassies back in, and the Peace Corps is coming, and USAID is coming back.

“We haven’t been there for a while, but that’s all tremendously positive. The U.S. and Australia working together will make a big, big impact.”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced in mid-July a swathe of initiatives aimed at strengthening its influence in the Pacific amid increasing competition with Beijing.

The U.S. will dispatch the Peace Corps. to the region, establish embassies in Kiribati and Tonga, appoint the first-ever U.S. Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, and look at reestablishing a U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Mission for the Pacific to deal with natural disasters and humanitarian aid.

Yet Cleo Paskal, an expert on the South Pacific, says the focus on the Pacific Islands Forum would just double-up on work already being done in existing regional bodies.

“If you want to reach all the Pacific Islands and work on scientific and practical research and solutions for some of the region’s critical challenges, these are the organisations [the Pacific Community and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme] where you’ll find the experts who can get the job done,” she wrote in the Sunday Guardian Live.

“The region urgently needs practical solutions to real-world problems, so countries aren’t destabilised and become easier prey for Beijing. That means understanding the operating environments of every country individually, and then working together to get things (not policy papers) done.”

Meanwhile, former Admiral Michael Rogers has said the U.S. is motivated to push through Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS agreement.

“The good news is that clearly is the intent of both the U.S. government, the Australian government, we want to aggressively meet the timeline,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Rogers headed the U.S. Cyber Command under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.


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Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected]