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Former Gov. Gary Locke Stepping Down as Ambassador to China

Andy Wong
AP Photo
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks at a Presidential election event, organized by the U.S. embassy in Beijing Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

The American ambassador to China says he will step down from his post early next year to rejoin his family in Seattle.

Gary Locke says he informed President Barack Obama of his decision when they met earlier this month.

Locke took up the post in August 2011 and was the first Chinese-American to hold it.

Locke said in a Wednesday statement he is proud of what the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China have accomplished. He highlighted increasing U.S. exports to China, promoting Chinese investment in the U.S. and reducing waiting times for a visa to three to five from highs of 70-100 days.

He says during his tenure the embassy advanced American values by meeting with religious leaders and human rights lawyers.

Locke is married with three children.

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