> Caroline Kennedy sworn in as US ambassador, confirms she will travel to Solomon Islands

Caroline Kennedy sworn in as US ambassador, confirms she will travel to Solomon Islands

Caroline Kennedy has confirmed she will travel to Solomon Islands next week after being sworn in as the new United States ambassador to Australia.

The ambassador presented her credentials to the Governor-General on her first full day in the job.

She is expected to fly to Solomon Islands late next week — along with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman — to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The ambassador’s father, former US president John F Kennedy, served as a patrol boat captain in Solomon Islands during World War II and famously helped to save the lives of US crew members after the ship sank.

Kennedy and the other survivors were later spotted and rescued from a nearby island by two Solomon Islander scouts.

The commemoration will also be a reminder of the strategic importance of Solomon Islands, which earlier this year signed a deeply contentious security pact with China.

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Strategic competition has been ratcheting up in the Pacific as Beijing tries to expand its economic, police and security ties with a host of countries in the region.

The Biden administration has stressed America’s historical ties to the Pacific — particularly from World War II — and has also made a series of announcements to expand its own presence, with the US Vice-President Kamala Harris unveiling plans to open new embassies and draft a new national strategy to corral US resources in the Pacific more effectively.

Ambassador yet to meet Anthony Albanese

Caroline Kennedy would not be drawn on the details of her trip to Solomon Islands when asked about the visit during a press conference in Canberra, but suggested the United States would continue to expand its footprint.

“I’m sure there will be many announcements to come in many areas, but I think that maybe we’ll take this up next week,” she said.

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