U.S. replacing ambassador to China Terry Branstad

The U.S. ambassador to China is being replaced. Initial word of Terry Branstad’s departure came in tweets from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who offered lavish praise.

But there was no immediate word on why the change was being made, who President Trump would nominate to replace Branstad or what Branstad’s next job would be.

All that was certain is that the move comes 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 the coronvirus pandemic, dubbing COVID-19 “the China virus.”

Terry Branstad
Then-Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks with members of the media at Trump Tower following meetings in New York City, in this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo. President Trump tapped Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China. Getty

“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 overnight.

“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.”