US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad stepping down as tensions with Beijing rise

Chinese officials say that they are ready to work with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who was chosen as US ambassador to China. CNN'S Matt Rivers reports.

Posted: Sep 14, 2020 11:15 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2020 11:16 AM


Terry Branstad will be stepping down as United States Ambassador to China after more than three years in Beijing, a source confirmed to CNN Monday.

Branstad is expected to leave Beijing before the November US Presidential election, the source said.

The announcement comes amid increasing tensions between the US and China on several fronts. The Chinese government announced on Friday it would be imposing unspecified restrictions on senior US diplomats and personnel inside China after Washington put in place a similar measure targeting Beijing's diplomatic corps on September 3.

In a Twitter post early Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Branstad for his service to the American people as the US Ambassador.

"President (Donald 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 said.

Pompeo didn't give a reason for Branstad's departure, or any announcement about a potential successor to the important diplomatic post.

Branstad was one of then-President-elect Trump's first ambassadorial picks in December 2016, shortly after Trump won the US Presidential election.

Trump said at the time that the then-Iowa governor was picked for his experience in public policy, trade and agriculture, as well as his "long-time relationship with (Chinese) President Xi Jinping," whom Branstad had known since 1985 through US-China government exchanges.

During that period, the two were believed to have maintained a friendship of sorts, with Xi meeting again with Branstad during a visit to the US in 2012 while still vice-president.

Originally Branstad's appointment was welcomed by Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang lauding him as an "old friend of the Chinese people."

But Branstad has overseen one of the rockiest periods of US-China relations in recent history. Since his appointment, the Trump administration has placed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as part of a long-running trade war. It has also banned Chinese technology firms such as Huawei from the country's communications infrastructure and receiving US components, and tightened visa restrictions on Chinese state media journalists working in the US.

On September 9, an opinion piece written by Branstad, in which he accused the Chinese government of "exploiting" US openness in recent decades, was rejected for publication by Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily for being "seriously inconsistent with facts."

"If you do wish to publish this op-ed in the People's Daily, you should make substantive revisions based on facts in the principle of equality and mutual respect," the state media publication said in its rejection letter.

In response, Secretary of State Pompeo accused People's Daily of "hypocrisy," saying that if the Chinese government was a mature power, it would "respect the right for Western diplomats to speak directly to the Chinese people."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96032

Reported Deaths: 2894
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7063159
DeSoto552159
Harrison382973
Jackson345670
Madison326586
Rankin325677
Lee268368
Jones246879
Forrest245571
Washington221972
Lafayette215439
Lauderdale2044125
Bolivar182366
Oktibbeha177350
Lamar167534
Neshoba1559104
Lowndes152658
Panola146328
Sunflower144546
Warren140250
Leflore139581
Pontotoc125916
Pike123050
Monroe122168
Scott117327
Copiah117133
Coahoma115028
Holmes109558
Marshall109217
Lincoln108353
Grenada107736
Yazoo105530
Simpson102544
Union99324
Tate97637
Leake95338
Adams93037
Wayne89421
Pearl River87353
Marion85735
Prentiss84417
Covington81922
Itawamba79421
Alcorn79111
Newton76723
George76513
Tallahatchie76321
Winston73719
Tishomingo67238
Chickasaw67024
Tippah66517
Attala65425
Walthall59825
Clay58918
Clarke58145
Hancock57721
Jasper56815
Noxubee54816
Smith53114
Calhoun51312
Tunica48313
Claiborne46216
Montgomery45920
Lawrence43112
Yalobusha42814
Perry41918
Humphreys37615
Quitman3725
Stone37012
Greene36617
Jefferson Davis33911
Webster33613
Amite32510
Carroll31512
Wilkinson30318
Kemper28815
Sharkey26513
Jefferson2449
Benton2252
Franklin1923
Choctaw1816
Issaquena1043
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19441349
Mobile13271291
Montgomery8778179
Madison775480
Tuscaloosa7496119
Shelby584951
Lee582961
Baldwin516550
Marshall390944
Calhoun346641
Etowah342047
Morgan325428
Houston278123
Elmore263247
DeKalb239120
Walker228483
St. Clair227837
Talladega212728
Limestone206120
Cullman188519
Dallas177426
Franklin175529
Russell17442
Autauga173825
Lauderdale168233
Colbert163626
Blount159415
Escambia158425
Jackson154611
Chilton153531
Dale135444
Covington134427
Coffee13078
Pike11879
Chambers115142
Tallapoosa114685
Clarke107717
Marion95729
Butler91339
Barbour8577
Winston73712
Marengo70820
Lowndes65327
Pickens65114
Bibb64210
Randolph63713
Hale62828
Lawrence60922
Geneva5995
Bullock59814
Cherokee59115
Monroe5818
Clay5707
Washington55613
Perry5407
Conecuh53111
Crenshaw53132
Wilcox53111
Henry4865
Macon48020
Fayette4438
Sumter43419
Lamar3632
Choctaw34612
Cleburne3396
Greene30315
Coosa1673
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