Obama nominates Locke to be ambassador to China - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Obama nominates Locke to be ambassador to China

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In this Dec. 21, 2010 photo, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announces results for the 2010 U.S. Census at the National Press Club, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) In this Dec. 21, 2010 photo, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announces results for the 2010 U.S. Census at the National Press Club, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as ambassador to China. If confirmed by the Senate he'll be the first Chinese-American to hold the sensitive post.

Locke would succeed Republican Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who's seen as a potential challenger to Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

"Our relationship with China is one of the most critical of the 21st century," Obama said at the White House with Locke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side.

"As the grandson of a Chinese immigrant who went on to live the American dream, Gary is the right person to continue this cooperation."

The ambassadorship to China is one of the most critical jobs in U.S. diplomacy given America's complex and sometimes strained ties with the huge and growing Asian power.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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