Gary Locke Resigning As Ambassador to China

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U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke attends the 20th anniversary of The U.S. - China Friendship Volunteers program on August 29, 2013 in Chengdu, China. The U.S. - China Friendship Volunteers program is an inter-governmental cooperative program to place Peace Corps volunteers to teach in China.
Photo: ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images/Getty

Ambassador Gary Locke is cutting short his time representing the United States in China so that he can spend more time with his family, the diplomat announced on Tuesday. "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 wrote in a statement, after two and a half years on the job. Locke said he was proud of the work his office had done, including reducing wait times for U.S. visas to 3-5 days from 70-100, thus helping stimulate Chinese investment in the United States. His statement did not mention activist Chen Guangcheng, whose flight to a U.S. embassy and subsequently out of the country Locke aided, causing perhaps the highest-profile diplomatic kerfuffle during his tenure. One guesses that's something he'd prefer to talk about once he's off duty.