US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad is stepping down, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announcing a sharp decline in relations between China and the United States.
Mr. Branstad, who served as governor of Iowa twice and in 2016 Donald J. An important early supporter of Trump’s presidential candidacy, he arrived in Beijing in the summer of 2017 with high hopes of using a personal connection to China’s leader, Xi Jinping. To build strong relationships.
Instead, he found himself on the front lines of President Trump’s trade war and, this year, a downward spiral of tension that has, for many, led to a new era of Cold War-like confrontation between the world’s two largest economies. Has started.
A few months before the presidential election, the reasons for Mr. Branstad’s departure were not immediately clear. The embassy in Beijing did not immediately comment on Mr. Pompeo’s announcement, who said on Twitter that the president had chosen Mr. Branstad “because his decades-long experience with China allowed him to represent the administration and protect American interests” Made the best person for
The 73-year-old Mr. Branstad kept a lower profile than some of his predecessors at the embassy, although that part mirrored Mr. Trump’s external role as his own public envoy to China. The Ambassador met privately with Mr. Xi, whom he had met for the first time, while the future Chinese leader was a visiting official from rural America, but personal relationships failed to convert into close relationships.
Mr. Branstad traveled to the country on a rare trip to Tibet in 2019, but his efforts to build good often faced resistance from China as tensions rose in trade and the coronavirus epidemic.
Last week, the State Department complained that the Communist Party’s main newspaper People’s Daily had refused to publish an op-ed by Mr. Branstad, who expected to take his message to Chinese readers as his counterpart in Washington Was, Cui Tiankai. Often does.
The Department said in a statement, “The People’s Daily’s response has once again exposed fears of free speech and serious intellectual debate, as well as Beijing’s hypocrisy. It is about the lack of fair and reciprocal treatment in other countries I complain. “
The People’s Daily responded by stating that Mr. Branstad’s article was “fraught with flaws and seriously inconsistent with the facts.”