Trump picks ‘old friend’ of Prez Xi as US envoy to China
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be the next US Ambassador to China, choosing an “old friend” of Beijing, after upsetting the Communist giant by his protocol-shattering talk with the Taiwanese president.
Branstad, 70, has longstanding relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping dating back to mid-1980s, when President Xi was a young county official seeking a closer relationship with Iowa’s robust agriculture sector. “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,” Trump said.
“He successfully developed close trade ties with China while serving as chief executive of the Hawkeye State. That experience will serve him well as he represents America’s interests and further develops a mutually beneficial relationship with Chinese leadership,” he said. “After long discussions with my family, I am honoured and humbled to accept President-elect Trump’s nomination to represent our great country as Ambassador to China,” Branstad said.
“I have known President Xi Jinping for many years and consider him an old friend. I look forward to building on our long friendship to cultivate and strengthen the relationship between our two countries and to benefit our economy,” he said.
The longest-serving governor in American history, he has led six trade missions to China meeting with numerous provincial governors, ministerial leaders and local officials. He is considered an “old friend”, a culturally significant title, by President Xi and has a long-standing relationship with the Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai. The announcement was welcomed by China.
“Branstad is an old friend of the Chinese people and we welcome him to play a greater role in promoting Sino-US relations. The US ambassador to China is an important bridge between the US government and the Chinese government,” said Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman.