USA ambassador to China to quit in move to Trump campaign

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad stepping down: CNN

"Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing US-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair", Mr Pompeo wrote.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Branstad for serving as ambassador in a Twitter statement, saying he was chosen because of "his decades long experience dealing with China".

It did not give a reason for his departure.

The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, will step down from his position and return from the country in October, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing announced Monday.

Branstad - who previously served as governor of Iowa for more than 20 years across two spells - has represented Washington in Beijing during a period when tensions with China were heightened over trade, regional territorial claims, the coronavirus pandemic, and unrest in Hong Kong.

"We are aware of the tweets and have not yet received notification that Terry Branstad is stepping down", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday at a press briefing in response to the reports.

Branstad, 73, is a native of Iowa and was governor of the major farming state for 22 years over two spans, from 1983 to 1999 and 2011 to 2017.


During that period, the two were believed to have maintained a friendship of sorts, with Xi meeting again with Branstad during a visit to the U.S. in 2012 while still vice-president.Originally Branstad's appointment was welcomed by Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang lauding him as an "old friend of the Chinese people".

Branstad first met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 1985, when Xi, then a provincial agricultural official, visited Iowa.

Citing an unnamed source, the CNN news network reported that Mr Branstad was likely to leave Beijing before the November U.S. presidential election.

But trade relations quickly soured, as the USA imposed tariffs on Chinese products and China retaliated in kind.

"He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences", an embassy statement at the time said.

Mr Pompeo attacked the Chinese government's decision.

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