WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is expected to formally announce Wednesday that he wants Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China.
If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would become the first Chinese-American to hold one of the most important diplomatic posts in government. He's already the first Chinese-American at the helm of the sprawling Commerce Department.
The 61-year-old Locke would succeed Jon Huntsman, one of the few Republicans in Obama's administration. Huntsman is seen as a potential challenger to Obama in the 2012 presidential race. He plans to leave Beijing at the end of April.
Administration officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Locke's nomination because the formal announcement had not been made.
Locke would be the first secretary to leave Obama's Cabinet.