U.S. Ambassador to China Resigns

Gary Locke will return to Seattle in early 2014

  • Share
  • Read Later
ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke attends the 20th anniversary of The U.S. - China Friendship Volunteers program on August 29, 2013 in Chengdu, China.

Gary Locke, who has served as the U.S. ambassador to China since 2011, says he will step down from the role next year for personal reasons.

“When I met with President Obama earlier this month, I informed him of my decision to step down as Ambassador in early 2014 to rejoin my family in Seattle,” Locke said in a statement released by the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Wednesday.

“Helping manage one of the most vitally important bilateral relationships for the United States, with so many critical American interests at stake, has been an immense and rewarding challenge,” said the ambassador, who is the first Chinese-American to hold the position.

Locke has had to navigate one of America’s most complex diplomatic relationships. His two-and-a-half-year term has been marked by a row over human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, and discussions over alleged Chinese cyberattacks on American businesses.

The ambassador’s wife and three children moved to Beijing with him in 2011 but returned to Seattle earlier this year so his eldest daughter could finish high school.

The announcement on Wednesday took many embassy staff by surprise, according to the Wall Street Journal. Locke’s replacement has yet to be named.

[WSJ]

4 comments
Inti
Inti

Being in China 16 years myself Locke and previous 5 ambassadors have been nothing but an utter disappointment. China/US relations need to be developed at a much faster pace and on every conceivable level. 

Currently the speed at which business, from manufacturing to investment is migrating to China and now even back to the USA increases we must keep up. The State Department and the US government on both a national and local level need to take more proactive approach on how to capitalize and solidify this relationship and at the same time influencing the need to cut budgets in defense as allies to allocate these funds to what is needed more. 

Promotion of free trade for markets to open up instead of using import tax as a blunt tool. Create more investment opportunities especially in the renewable fuel and energy sectors. Investing in CO2 reduction technology and cleaning of water and fertile land. All these things should be on their platter but they aren't and it's sad how both countries want the same but no one is there to get it done. As of now it just feels like two kids throwing a fit in the play ground hogging their toys away from each other. 

The air pollution is truly no excuse, it is something that we should both work on and how hard would it be to work on it together? I know plenty of people in Beijing who live their willingly and I know plenty of people who have lived in far more "hardship" classified posts than Beijing. Not to mention being the Ambassador to China for the US is an amazing post to have and it is just sad he has wasted this opportunity. I grew up in a diplomatic family and spent 17 years of my life overseas, and I never took any hardship as a negative I took it as an experience that includes having lived in places that make Beijing look like Shangri-La. 

writingspot
writingspot

I guess why he ended his term prematurely because Beijing's air is deadly.  Don't forget the previous ambassador also ended before his term.  Air is omnipresent and bad air everywhere and all the time can turn people off and curb anybody's ambition, considering ambassador to China--managing the most important relationship to US--must be a plum job.  I say so because if I were offered--certainly I will not--this important position in Beijing, I would not take because of the bad air.  Here the bad air should be called the worst air--visibly dirty filled with extra fine particles.  

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

Mr. Locke is a fine American. We are thankful for his great service to our nation.

adam_zhang
adam_zhang

although he is a Chinese American,but I can see he really hates China and he is very unfriendly to China.