US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, to step down
Terry Branstad will resign from his role as the United States' Ambassador to China, CNN reports.
Branstad depature from Beijing is expected to take place sometime prior to the November US Presidential election, a source told CNN's reporters.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Branstad for his service to the American people as the US Ambassador in a Monday morning Tweet, saying, "President (Donald Trump) chose Ambassador Branstad because his decades-long experience dealing with China made him the best person to represent the Administration and to defend American interests and ideals in this important relationship."
I thank Ambassador Terry Branstad for his more than three years of service to the American people as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 14, 2020
Pompeo didn't give a reason for Branstad's departure, but the announcement comes amid increasing tensions between the US and China. On Friday, China announced plans to impose unspecified restrictions on senior US diplomats and personnel within its borders. The move appears in response to Washington's implementation of similar measures, targeting Beijing's diplomatic corps on September 3.
President Trump moved Branstad, the former governor of Iowa, for into the role f ambassador in December of 2016 and Branstad was initially welcomed by Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang referred to him as an "old friend of the Chinese people."
But Branstad has overseen one of the most treacherous periods of US-China relations in recent history.
Since his appointment, the Trump administration has placed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as part of a long-running trade war and tightened visa restrictions on Chinese state media journalists working in the US, in addition to banning Chinese technology firms from the country's communications infrastructure.
On September 9, Branstad penned an opinion piece in which he accused the Chinese government of "exploiting" US openness in recent decades. Unsurprisingly, his article was rejected for publication by Communist Party's news outlet, People's Daily, for being "seriously inconsistent with facts."
"If you do wish to publish this op-ed in the People's Daily, you should make substantive revisions based on facts in the principle of equality and mutual respect," the state media publication said in its rejection letter.
Brandstad had been serving as Ambassador to China in Beijing for just over three years.
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