Sen John Kerry to replace Clinton as US secretary of state

John KerryForming his core team for his second term as US President, Barack Obama on Friday nominated Senator John Kerry as his next secretary of state, replacing Hilary Rodham Clinton.

Obama made the announcement at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry, a war hero as well as a seasoned politician, at his side.

"I am very proud to announce my choice for America's next secretary of state, John Kerry," Obama said. "In a sense, John's entire life has prepared him for this role."

The president heaped praise on Kerry, noting in particular his military service in Vietnam and his personal ties with leaders around the world.

"Having served with valour in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power," Obama said.

Kerry, 69, won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. After returning home, he became an anti-war activist. In recent years, he has also strongly espoused environmental causes.