As widely expected, President Obama has announced that he’ll nominate Gary Locke to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China. If confirmed by the Senate, the current secretary of commerce will replace Jon Huntsman, a Republican who is resigning his post to explore a run for president in 2012. In announcing the pick, Obama pointed out that Locke would be the first ambassador to China of Chinese descent. “More than 100 years ago, Gary’s grandfather left China on a steamboat bound for America where he worked as a domestic servant in Washington State,” the president said. “A century later, his grandson will return to China as America’s top diplomat.” Locke previously served as governor of Washington.