President Barack Obama named Gary Locke as the next United States Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China, late Wednesday morning during a White House press conference held in the Diplomatic Reception Room. Locke replaces Ambassador John Huntsman, who was appointed in April 2009, and according to the President, has decided to step down. Obama said Huntsman has helped to strengthen a critical relationship with the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
Obama said he could think of no one more qualified to replace Huntsman than Locke, the grandson of a steamboat worker in China, who was present with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.
As the first Chinese-American governor, Obama said Locke worked tirelessly to attract jobs and businesses to Washington State, and he doubled exports to China – which prompted his decision to appoint Locke as Commerce Secretary to advocate on a national level and as a point person for the National Export Initiative.
Locke currently serves as the Secretary of Commerce, and recently completed a trade mission to India. Obama said Locke is of the most respected and admired public servants, overseeing an increase in American exports and presided over a census that “ended on time and under budget.”