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Obama nominates Locke as ambassador to China

Locke.jpg
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
AP Photo
President Barack Obama, left, announces that Commerce Sec. Gary Locke, right, will be the next US ambassador to China, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House Wednesday, March, 9, 2011. Locke is replacing Jon Huntsman.

 WASHINGTON (AP)     President Barack Obama has nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. At a White House appearance Wednesday (Video), Obama credited Locke for expanding exports to China and said he has earned the trust of business leaders.

The post is one of the most important diplomatic jobs in government. If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would become the first Chinese-American to serve as the envoy to China.

Locke, 61, would succeed Jon Huntsman, the former Republican Utah governor who resigned and is exploring a potential presidential run against Obama. Huntsman plans to leave Beijing at the end of April. Locke would be the first secretary to leave Obama's Cabinet. Locke's grandfather emigrated from China to the United States. Locke says he is honored to be chosen.

Audio from the news conference:

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-956648.mp3

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