The source said that Branstad is expected to leave Beijing before the US presidential election in November.
“The President (Donald Trump) chose Ambassador Branstad because his decades-long experience with China made him the best person to represent the administration and protect American interests and ideals in this important relationship,” Pompeo said.
In December 2016, one of the then presidential-election Trump’s first ambassador pics, Branstad was soon after winning the US presidential election.
During that period, the two were believed to have maintained a kind of friendship with Xi during his visit to the US in 2012, with Branstad again as Vice President.
Branstad’s appointment was originally welcomed by Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang praising him as an “old friend of the Chinese people”.
But Branstad has overseen one of the most difficult periods of US-China relations in recent history. Since his appointment, the Trump administration has imposed duties on Chinese goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars as part of a long-running trade war. It has banned Chinese technology firms such as Huawei from acquiring the country’s communications infrastructure and American components, and has tightened visa restrictions on Chinese state media journalists working in the US.
The state media publication said in its rejection letter, “If you want to publish this op-ed in People’s Daily, you should make amends based on facts of equality and mutual respect.”