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Said to eye White House, Jon Huntsman ends popular run as ambassador to China

Jon Huntsman, whose resignation as ambassador to China was announced Monday, has earned widespread respect among both American businessmen and Chinese officials.

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US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and Chinese Ambassador to the US Zhang Yesui wave to China's President Hu Jintao as his plane departs O'Hare International airport in Chicago in this Jan. 21 photo.

Frank Polich/Reuters

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Jon Huntsman, whose resignation as ambassador to China was announced Monday, has earned widespread respect among both American businessmen and Chinese officials during his two years in Beijing.

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.

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