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Pompeo says U.S. ambassador to China to leave post

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early Monday U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad would leave the post.

“I thank Ambassador Terry Branstad for his more than three years of service to the American people as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China,” Pompeo said in a Twitter post.

“Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair,” he added. 

Branstad is expected to leave Beijing before the November 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.

The Chinese foreign ministry has in the past described Branstad as an “old friend of the Chinese people”.

He first forged ties with President Xi Jinping several decades ago when Xi visited Iowa.

Last week, the United States and China traded attacks about who best understands press freedom after the official People’s Daily refused to publish an article by Branstad.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news conference that China had not received a notice about Branstad leaving. 

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