Branstad, Cox on short list for U.S. Ambassador to China

World Today

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has begun his search for the next U.S. ambassador to China. The top contenders include a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the grandson of former U.S. president, Richard Nixon.

CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.

Branstad, Cox on short list for U.S. Ambassador to China

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has begun his search for the next U.S. ambassador to China. The top contenders include a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the grandson of former U.S. president, Richard Nixon. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reports.

Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, may have the inside track to become the next U.S. Ambassador to China. He met with President-elect Trump in New York for about an hour on Tuesday.

Afterwards, he did not confirm whether any offers had been made.

“I can’t comment on that at this point in time just to say that I’m very proud to have supported Donald Trump for president,” Branstad said.

Two days before winning the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump gave him an explicit endorsement, during a rally in Iowa.

“I think there’s nobody that knows more about trade than him,” Trump said. “You would be our prime candidate to take care of China.”

Branstad has a long relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The pair met more than 30 years ago when Xi took an exchange trip to Iowa as a local party leader.

Three years ago, Xi welcomed Branstad to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Much of their relationship centers on trade. China is a major import market for Iowa, bringing in nearly $1.5 billion in agricultural products last year.

In 2012, Xi made a special visit to Iowa as China’s Vice President.

“He’s a very friendly, outgoing individual, and I think he’s going to help us improve the relationship between the United States of America in the People’s Republic of China,” Branstad told CCTV America.

Iowa Governor's Office - Iowa Gov Branstad and Chinese President Xi

Iowa Governor’s Office – Iowa Gov Branstad and Chinese President Xi

In recent days, that relationship has been tested. Last week, President-elect Trump took a phone call from the leader of Taiwan, breaking with decades of precedent.

Then over the weekend, Trump tweeted: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency?”

Branstad isn’t the only one under consideration. Christopher Nixon Cox, the 37-year-old grandson of U.S. President Richard Nixon is also in the running.

Cox works on U.S.-China relations as both an international business consultant and a board member at the Nixon Foundation. He does not have a scheduled meeting with Trump about the job, but he has long-standing relationships of his own with Chinese officials.

China Daily

China Daily

President-elect Donald Trump will join Branstad later this week at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday.