Gary Locke Resigning As Ambassador to China

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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.