NEW YORK (AP) _ Katherine A. Wilhelm, a newswoman in the Beijing bureau of The Associated Press, has been named chief of bureau in charge of AP operations in the People's Republic of China.

The appointment was announced Tuesday by AP President Louis D. Boccardi and is effective July 1.

Wilhelm, 32, has covered China for the AP for the past three years. She succeeds Jim Abrams, who will move to the United States for an assignment in AP's Washington bureau after four years as Beijing bureau chief.

Wilhelm joined the AP in Louisville in 1983 and transferred to Pittsburgh later that year. She also worked on the AP's Foreign Desk in New York before her assignment in China.

Wilhelm is a native of East Brunswick, N.J., and a history graduate of Niagara University. She holds a master's degree in Chinese studies from Harvard University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.