Iowa Governor Approved as US Ambassador to China

World Today

FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks to members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. A Senate panel has approved Branstad as U.S. ambassador to China. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Before Monday, Terry Branstad, 70, was best known for being the longest serving governor in the United States. Now, he’s on track to be the next U.S. Ambassador to China.

The U.S. Senate approved his nomination by a vote of 82 to 13 on Monday evening.

In endorsing Branstad’s candidacy for the position, the senior senator from Iowa, Senator Chuck Grassley noted that Branstad has a “30-year friendship with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, and “their relationship reflects genuine good will and mutual respect.”

Back in December, when Branstad was nominated as ambassador, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang, said, “We welcome him to play a greater role in advancing the development of relations between China and the US.”

Among Branstad’s most immediate assignments will be working with China to help defuse the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea’s advancing ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

During his hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May, Branstad told senators, “If confirmed, I hope to use my unique position as an “old friend” of President Xi and a trusted confidant of President Trump to positively influence the U.S.-China relationship.”

CGTN is still gathering details on the timing for Branstad’s swearing-in ceremony.