WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has decided on his picks for key ambassadors to China, Japan and India and plans to announce them in the coming weeks as he prepares for his first overseas trip next month , said three administration officials.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been offered the role of Ambassador to Japan. NBC News first reported in February that Biden was considering Emanuel, an Obama White House chief of staff.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has been offered the post of ambassador to India, officials said. Garcetti, Democrat, has been mayor since 2013.
And former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns has been offered the post of Biden’s envoy to China. Burns, a longtime diplomat who served under the chairmen of both parties, has served as the U.S. ambassador to NATO and Greece, as well as the State Department spokesperson.
Biden is under increasing pressure to fill his senior diplomatic posts, most of which are still vacant more than four months after taking office, as a growing number of foreign policy crises demand US attention.
Two administration officials said one of the reasons for the delay was concern to deliver on Biden’s commitment to diversity, with the administration waiting to roll out a larger slate of candidates at the same time rather than a list of all men. Garcetti is Mexican-American, but many of the candidate ambassadors whose names have appeared publicly so far have been white males.
The White House declined to comment and said no choices were final until they were officially announced.
The three candidates, if confirmed by the Senate, would play critical roles as the Biden administration seeks to shift the focus of U.S. foreign policy toward Asia and the growing challenges posed by China.
India, the world’s largest democracy, is a key US partner in South Asia as the US military withdraws from Afghanistan. It is also in the throes of a Covid-19 epidemic that has devastated the country even as vaccines reduce new infections and deaths elsewhere.
Japan, an ally of the United States who has a habit of sending high-level ambassadors from Washington, is also a key partner of the United States in the confrontation with North Korea over its weapons program. nuclear.
The selection of the three choices to serve in Asian capitals contrasts with a slower process of selecting ambassadors in other parts of the world.
NBC News reported this week that Biden had chosen former Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Nides as ambassador to Israel, while vacancies as senior U.S. diplomat in many other Middle Eastern countries remain vacant.
Other selections remain work in progress.
NBC News also reported that Cindy McCain, wife of the late Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., Is under consideration for Ambassador to the United Nations World Food Program in Rome and that the former Secretary for the Interior Ken Salazar was considered for the Ambassador. in Mexico. Retired pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is also in the process of being an ambassador to the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization.