U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at a promotional occasion for American beef in Beijing on June 30, 2017.
Fred Dufour | AFP | Getty Images
The U.S. ambassador to China will step down early next month, ending a three-year tenure marked by a commerce struggle and more and more bitter relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Terry Branstad, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017, confirmed his choice in a cellphone name with Trump final week, the U.S. Embassy stated in an announcement Monday. It didn’t give a cause for his departure.
“I am proudest of our work in getting the phase one trade deal and delivering tangible results for our communities back home,” he was quoted as saying at an embassy employees assembly on Monday.
Word of his departure leaked out earlier within the day when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Branstad on Twitter for his service.
“Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair,” Pompeo wrote in a follow-up tweet.
China’s overseas ministry stated earlier than the embassy announcement that it was conscious of Pompeo’s tweet however had not acquired any notification that Branstad was leaving.
Branstad turned embroiled in a current controversy when China’s official People’s Daily newspaper rejected an opinion column that he had written.
Pompeo tweeted final week that China’s ruling Communist Party refused to run Branstad’s op-ed whereas the Chinese ambassador to the United States “is free to publish in any U.S. media outlet.”
Chinese overseas ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded that Branstad’s article was “full of loopholes, seriously inconsistent with facts and wantonly attacks and smears China.”
The U.S. Embassy had contacted the People’s Daily on August 26 in regards to the piece, asking that it’s printed in full with none edits earlier than September 4, the People’s Daily stated in an announcement posted on-line.
Branstad, 73, is a local of Iowa and was governor of the foremost farming state for 22 years over two spans, from 1983 to 1999 and 2011 to 2017.
Early in his first time period, he met Xi Jinping, now China’s chief, when the then county-level Communist Party official visited Iowa on a 1985 commerce journey.
Trump appointed him ambassador after a emptiness of a number of months, throughout which the embassy’s No. 2 official, David Rank, resigned after criticizing the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris local weather accord.
Soon after arriving in Beijing in June 2017, Branstad welcomed American beef again to the Chinese market after a 14-year ban, saying “I know it is a key priority of the president to reduce the trade deficit, and this is one of the ways we can do it.”
But commerce relations rapidly soured, because the U.S. imposed tariffs on Chinese merchandise and China retaliated in sort. Other disputes adopted over know-how, human rights and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Branstad joined U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at commerce talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing in May 2019.
The part one deal reached the next January represented a truce however didn’t tackle the extra basic complaints of the American facet.
The U.S. Embassy assertion additionally famous Branstad’s function within the effort to scale back the circulate of fentanyl from China to the United States, together with a 2018 pact through which China agreed to record the opioid as a managed substance.
Branstad additionally made a uncommon go to to Tibet in May 2019, the place he expressed considerations about what the U.S. known as Chinese authorities interference within the freedom of Tibetan Buddhists to arrange and apply their faith.
“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 assertion on the time stated.