By Reuters staff, published by Swissinfo.ch
Beijing – US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will retire and leave Beijing early next month, the embassy said today (Sept. 14, 2020)
Branstad, 73 years old and a former governor of Iowa, leaves at a time when relations are strained, notably over bilateral trade, allegations about information security, and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thank Ambassador Terry Branstad for his more than three years of service to the American people as US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.
“Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing US-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair,” he added.
The Chinese foreign ministry has in the past described Branstad as an “old friend of the Chinese people”.
He first forged ties with President Xi Jinping several decades ago when Xi visited Iowa.
Last week, the United States and China traded attacks about who best understands press freedom after the official People’s Daily refused to publish an article by Branstad.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news conference that China had not received a notice about Branstad leaving.
Top: US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China, on June 30, 2017. File Photo: Reuters / Mark Schiefelbein and published by Swissinfo.ch
(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing; Editing by Kevin Liffey)