US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad is stepping up

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad talks to the media next to his wife Christine during a news conference at his residence in Beijing on June 28, 2017.

Nicholas ASFOURI / AFP / Getty

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad is stepping down Increasingly strained relationship Between two of the world’s largest economies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement on Twitter on Monday. Thanking Branstad for his service, Pompeo said in a tweet that he “has contributed to rebalancing the US-China relationship so that it is results-oriented, mutual and fair”.

The reasons for the ambassador’s departure, which the US Embassy later confirmed in a statement, were not immediately clear.

China’s foreign ministry accepted Pompeo’s tweet, but said it had not received Branstad’s resignation.

There was no immediate indication from Pompeo or the US embassy that President Trump could nominate Branstad to replace him or what the GOP veteran’s next step might be.

The US embassy in Beijing said in a statement, Branstad “will retire from his position as US envoy and leave for Beijing in early October. The ambassador confirmed his decision by phone to President Trump last week.”

The statement said Branstad thanked the embassy staff in Beijing on Monday, saying he was “the most proud of our lives”. Phase one business deal And bringing tangible results back home to our communities. Our goal is meaningful, measurable outcomes for American families. We have made significant progress and we will not leave any pressure for more. ”

The 73-year-old, who served as Iowa’s governor for more than 20 years between the two ministers, had held his post since May 2017, representing Washington in Beijing at a time when tensions with China were trading, Regional had increased. Territorial claims, To Coronavirus epidemic, And Unrest in hong kong.

He was called by Beijing in June after President Donald Trump signed a law that paved the way for sanctions on Hong Kong, an action the Foreign Ministry called as “gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.

Last year, he called for opening “solid dialogue” with Beijing Dalai Lama During a rare visit to Tibet, an area where the central government is accused of widespread repression.

An early supporter of Mr. Trump’s run for the White House in 2016, Branstad was appointed soon after the election.

At the time, Mr Trump’s transition team praised his “tremendous understanding of China and the Chinese people”.

He was reported to have a long-term relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he first met in the 1980s.