(PatrioticPost.com)- After more than three years serving in the position, Terry Branstad will step down as the U.S. Ambassador to China.
Sources told CNN that Branstad will leave his position before November’s presidential election.
Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, tweeted his appreciation for Branstad’s work, writing:
“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.”
Tensions between China and the United States have continued to escalate in recent months. On September 3, the U.S. imposed sanctions on various diplomatic corps in Beijing. China then responded, announcing last week that it would impose similar restrictions on senior U.S. personnel and diplomats inside China.
No reason was given by either Branstad or Pompeo as to why the ambassador was stepping down from the position. No information about a successor to him was released as well.
Shortly after Trump won election, he announced Branstad as one of his first picks as ambassador. The president said then that he was picked because of his experience in trade, agriculture and public policy.
Branstad, who was then the governor of Iowa, also was chosen for his “long-time relationship with (Chinese) President Xi Jingping. The two have had a relationship since U.S.-China government exchanges that began back in 1985.
Two pair had established a quasi-friendship, it was reported. Xi even met with Branstad in 2012 while he was visiting America as China’s vice president.
When he first took the job, he was seemingly welcomed by people in Beijing. Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, called him an “old friend of the Chinese people.”
Things turned sour over the next few years as relations between the two countries intensified. Trump placed tariffs on Chinese goods that totaled into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Chinese technology firms were banned from the U.S. communications infrastructure and from receiving U.S. components. Huawei is the most well-known example of this.
The president also clamped down on visa restrictions for state media journalists from China who were working in America.
Branstad wrote an opinion piece on September 9, accusing China’s government of “exploiting” U.S. openness. That piece was rejected by People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, because they said it was “seriously inconsistent with facts.”
As the state-run media outlet said in rejecting the piece:
“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.”
Pompeo then accused the media outlet of “hypocrisy.” He said if China’s government was a mature world power, it would “respect the right for Western diplomats to speak directly to the Chinese people.”
Branstad’s replacement will enter a situation that’s tenuous, at best, and is also likely to get worse leading up to November’s presidential election. It’s going to be a tough job for whoever takes the post.