Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pompeo says U.S. ambassador to China is stepping down

US ambassador to China

Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: Branstad's three-year tenure was marked by a sharp escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China, exacerbated in the past year by the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump's trade war, Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong, its abuses against Uighur Muslims, a military buildup in the South China Sea and more.

  • Pompeo did not provide a reason for why Branstad, the former governor of Iowa and a diplomat who kept a low-profile as ambassador compared to his predecessors, is departing.
  • "Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair," Pompeo tweeted. "This will have lasting, positive effects on U.S. foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come."

Go deeper: Trade is now the relative bright spot in U.S.-China relations

Go deeper