Said to Eye White House, Jon Huntsman Ends Popular Run as Ambassador to China

The U.S. Ambassador the China, Jon Huntsman, has announced his resignation amid rumors that he is considering running for President in 2012. From the Christian Science Monitor:

The former Republican governor of Utah will be leaving his post in the next few months, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. The move will leave Mr. Huntsman free to consider a possible run for the US presidency.

Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker, has been ambassador during a contentious period in US-China relations; in the past two years Beijing and Washington have clashed over currency and trade issues, territorial questions in the South China Sea, and policy toward Iran.

“He did a lot in difficult conditions to protect Sino-US relations,” says Shi Yinhong, an expert in US affairs at Renmin University in Beijing. “He helped steer the relationship through the storm, and he leaves quite a positive image.”
Respected by bicyclists, business community

The ambassador, who could sometimes be seen on weekends riding his bicycle with his family around Beijing, “earned a lot of respect from the American business community,” says Patrick Chovanec, who teaches economics at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

See also a piece from the Telegraph on Huntsman’s popularity in Beijing, while Evan Osnos offers up his own (tongue-in-cheek) suggestions for Huntsman’s replacement there. Read more about Jon Hunstman via CDT.

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