WASHINGTON?President Barack Obama plans to nominate Chinese-American Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as his new ambassador to China, to replace Jon Huntsman, who is mulling a White House bid.
An official confirmed the nomination, first reported by ABC News, on condition of anonymity. A formal announcement was expected on Tuesday.
Locke, a former governor of Washington state, has been dealing with China in various capacities for decades and has been was a key player in forging trade links with the Asian giant even before becoming Commerce Secretary.
He has also recently been among US officials who have urged China to do more to open its markets and to loosen currency controls on the yuan.
If Locke is confirmed by the Senate, his arrival in Beijing will complete a poignant personal story, after his grandfather emigrated from China to settle in far western Washington state.
Locke's father was also born in China and worked in a grocery store, while his son profited from a US education before training as a lawyer and entering politics.
Huntsman announced he would resign last month, amid reports that he may seek the Republican nomination in 2012 and try to deprive his ultimate boss, Obama, of a second term.