Branstad Mum on Chinese Foreign Policy While Ambassadorship Is Pending

Jan 6, 2017

As Governor Branstad awaits confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to China, he is declining to comment on some controversial actions by his new boss, President-elect Donald Trump.  

China’s foreign ministry lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. after Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president congratulating him on his election.  

At a statehouse forum this week, Branstad was asked if the president-elect’s action would make his job more difficult.

“I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on anything involving foreign policy until the time that I am confirmed and even then I will not be the one setting foreign policy,” Branstad said.   “I'll be the one that I guess helps implement it.”

I'm hopeful that my background will help me work out some of the differences that we have

Since 1979 the U.S. has acknowledged Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China, what’s referred to in diplomatic circles as the “one China” policy.  

Branstad says it will be his job to explain to the Chinese people any changes in foreign policy under the Trump administration. 

“I'm hopeful that my background and experience and the trust I have gained with them will help me communicate to the Chinese the changes that are taking place,” Branstad said, “and hopefully work out some of the differences that we have.”

Governor Branstad is preparing for his upcoming meeting with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee which will approve or deny his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China.

Branstad said if he is confirmed he will be working with the world’s second-biggest economy and the nation with the biggest population in the world.

The governor will remain in office until he is confirmed.   At that time, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will be sworn in as the state’s first female governor.