U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next ambassador to China.
Locke would be the first Chinese-American to serve as Washington’s envoy to Beijing. If approved by the Senate, he will replace Jon Huntsman, a Republican who is expected to end his tenure at the end of April. Obama has said no one is better qualified for the diplomatic post than Locke.
The Obama administration says it has worked hard to build a relationship with China, addressing global security issues and developing trade ties.
Locke said, “As Commerce Secretary, I have helped open up foreign markets for American businesses so they can create more jobs right here in America, and I am eager to continue that work in China and to help you, Mr. President, manage one of America’s most critical and complex diplomatic, economic and strategic relationships.”
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. Both his father and grandfather were born in China.
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 companies executives on a mission to explore opportunities in China’s fast-growing clean energy sector. He has warned that the United States risks being left behind as China plows billions of dollars into solar, wind and other “green” technologies.
In an interview with The Associated Press that took place before his nomination was reported, Locke praised the economic relationship he has helped to build between the United States and China. He said US exports to China had posted a 34 percent increase last year. Obama sees boosting US exports as a way to save and create jobs and has set a goal of doubling the amount of American goods sold to other countries within five years.
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.
– China Daily/CNTV