The U.S. ambassador to China is apparently being replaced. Initial word on the move involving Terry Branstad came in overnight tweets from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who offered lavish praise.
But there was no immediate word on whether a change was actually being made or why. There also was no mention of who President Trump would nominate to replace Branstad or what Branstad’s next job would be. He’s a former Iowa governor.
All that was certain is that the move would come at a time of rising tensions between the two superpowers on any number of fronts and with Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign in high gear. The president has been blaming Beijing for, dubbing COVID-19 “the China virus.”
Branstad was involved in a recent flap when China’s official People’s Daily newspaper rejected a column he’d written but there was no indication of whether the controversy had anything to do with his departure.
“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,” Pompeo tweeted.
“President 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,” Pompeo continued. “Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair. This will have lasting, positive effects on U.S. foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”