Washington (CNN) - U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman submitted a hand-delivered letter of resignation to President Obama Monday, effective April 30th, according to two senior administration officials.
The news comes amid speculation that the former Utah governor will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
At the White House briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration expected the ambassador to leave his post in the first part of 2011.
"Ambassador Huntsman has told a number - told several people inside this building that he plans to leave in the first part of - during the first part of this year," Gibbs said. "The president, and I think the American people, expect that somebody that holds the post of ambassador from the United States to China would dedicate their full energy and time to that position. And we believe that Ambassador Huntsman believes that as well."