Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be U.S. Ambassador to China

Beijing called Mr. Branstad an “old friend”

The transition team announced Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as President-elect Trump’s pick for the key post of U.S. Ambassador to China.

Mr. Branstad was reportedly seen entering the Trump Towers in New York to hold talks with the President-elect on Tuesday.

Mr. Branstad is considered to be a key player when it comes to China because of his long ties with the country. He called President Xi Jinping as a “long-time friend” when Mr. Xi visited Iowa before assuming power in China. Beijing has responded to the nomination by calling Mr. Branstad an “old friend.”

The Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang stated that:-

We welcome him (Mr. Branstad) to play a greater role in advancing the development of China-US relations.

While formally announcing his nominee, the trump statement read:-

Governor Branstad’s decades of experience in public service and long-time relationship with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders make him the ideal choice to serve as America’s Ambassador to China.

Mr. Branstad remarked that he was “humbled and honored,” and accepted the nomination after deliberation with his family. He said that he would look forward to building on a long friendship, to strengthen the relations between the two countries and to benefit both economies.

A “Thank You” rally will be held for supporters in Des Moines on Thursday by Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. This presidential election was just the second time since 1984 when Iowa voters backed the Republican ticket.

Trump had earlier called Branstad up to the stage at a campaign rally in Sioux City on Nov. 6, saying the governor “would be our prime candidate to take care of China.”

Terry Branstad: America’s Longest-serving Governor

Mr. Branstad, now 70, first came to the office in 1983 and is the longest-serving governor in U.S. history. He was a staunch supporter of Trump right from the start, and his son, Eric, served as Trump’s state campaign director in Iowa. He met Xi Jinping for the first time in 1985 when the future leader of China visited Iowa as a Provincial Agricultural Official, and also hosted a dinner for Mr. Xi during his visit to the state in 2012. Mr. Branstad has visited China four times in the past seven years.

The nomination comes at a crucial point when trade tensions are high between the two leading economies in the world. Trump has accused China of “raping” the U.S. by deliberately devaluing its currency, which gives an unfair exporting advantage to China.

The recent political row came when Mr. Trump spoke to Taiwan’s leader over the phone, which broke longstanding U.S. diplomatic protocol towards China, and prompted a protest. While the Trump team claims that it was spontaneous, the evidence is growing which proves otherwise. The recent claim being that the former Senator Bob Dole played an active role to engineer the communication.

President-elect Trump said on Wednesday that he’s being helped by President Obama with the appointments, and one of his recommendations had been followed, without mentioning which job was being referred to.