US President Barack Obama tapped Utah Republican governor Jon Huntsman as the next ambassador to China, AFP reported. Huntsman was one of the leaders of Obama rival John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, and some had speculated Huntsman could challenge Obama for the presidency in 2012. The 49-year-old is viewed as a moderate and a rising star within the Republican party; in November he was elected to his second term as the governor of Utah with 70% of the vote. Huntsman is a fluent Mandarin speaker, having learned the language as a Mormon missionary to Taiwan. He served as ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and acted as a trade envoy during the George W. Bush administration.