Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Obama to name new US ambassador to China

Updated: 2011-03-08 08:32


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 Obama to name new US ambassador to China

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaks during an event in Tianjin in this May 22, 2010 file photo. US President Barack Obama will nominate Locke as next ambassador to China, two US officials said on Monday.[Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - United States President Barack Obama will nominate Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as next US ambassador to China, two administration officials said on Monday.

Locke would replace the current ambassador, Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down on April 30 and is considering a run for president in which he'd join a field of Republicans vying to challenge Obama in the 2012 election.

An official announcement on Locke is expected on Tuesday.

Locke, whose appointment would need confirmation by the US Senate, became the first Chinese-American Commerce Secretary when he joined the Obama administration in 2009.

He is a former governor of Washington state.

Locke, who made a number of trips to China while he was governor of Washington, has remained active on that front as commerce secretary.

Last year, he led a group of nearly two dozen business executives on a mission to explore opportunities in China's fast-growing clean energy sector. He has warned that the US risks being left behind as China plows billions of dollars into solar, wind and other green technologies.

Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, raised eyebrows in the White House when he sent signals several weeks ago he was considering entering the 2012 presidential race.

He is expected to make a decision on whether he will run for president when he returns from China at the end of April.


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