The Senate unanimously confirmed Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China on Wednesday morning.

Locke is replacing Jon Huntsman, who resigned his post in April to run for the GOP nomination for the presidency in 2012.

"Our relationship with China is one of the most critical of the 21st century," said President Obama when he nominated Locke in March.

"As the grandson of a Chinese immigrant who went on to live the American dream, Gary is the right person to continue this cooperation," said Obama.