US envoy to China 'resigns' eyeing 2012 presidential run against Obama

Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): The United States ambassador to China, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., has reportedly resigned from his post, a move that could clear his way to run for the 2012 presidential elections on the Republican ticket.

White House officials have said that he intends to leave his position on April 30.

Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, was nominated nearly two years ago by President Barack Obama to serve as the American envoy to China.

The New York Times quoted one of the associates of Huntsman as saying that although he has not yet decided whether or not to move forward with a candidacy, he has had several rounds of conversations with political advisers about the matter.

When Obama was asked about his ambassador's apparent plans to be his potential political rival, the President said Huntsman would do justice to any job he picks up in the future.

"I couldn't be happier with the ambassador's service, and I'm sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future. And I'm sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in a Republican primary," Obama added.

Huntsman, who supported Senator John McCain's presidential bid in 2008, reportedly started secretly seeking advice from last year about his plans for the presidential bid. Media reports had revealed last week that his advisors include John Weaver, a former adviser to McCain, and Fred Davis, who produces television ads for Republican candidates.

Huntsman has told associates that he will make a decision by June, the paper said.

When he accepted the position of top US envoy to China, Huntsman expressed his surprise standing in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on May 16, 2009.

"Nor did I expect, as national co-chair of Senator McCain's presidential campaign, to be called into action by the person who beat us. But I grew up understanding that the most basic responsibility one has is service to country," he had said. (ANI)

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