China has said the next head of the World Bank should be chosen on merit, suggesting a break to the tradition of appointing an American to the post though it did not propose a specific candidate, the Financial Times reported. Robert Zoellick announced Wednesday he would step down as president of the bank in June, the end of his five-year term. Current speculation for a successor has focused on US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Harvard professor and former treasury secretary Larry Summers. “China hopes that the next president of the World Bank will be selected based on the principle of merit in an open and fair competition,” said Liu Weimin, foreign ministry spokesman. Beijing took the same position last year when the International Monetary Fund, which is traditionally led by a European, was looking for a new head, through China eventually supported current chief Christine Lagarde. High-profile Chinese candidates for the bank position could include Justin Lin, chief economist at the World Bank, and Zhu Min, a deputy director at the IMF.