Trump Picks Iowa Governor Branstad As Ambassador To China

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President-elect Donald Trump has selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, according to numerous media reports.

Bloomberg News first reported the choice of Branstad, which a Trump transition official later confirmed to other media outlets.

The Republican governor is said to be a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping and could help ease tensions between the two countries.

Trump has pledged to label China a currency manipulator and raised concerns by speaking directly with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen last week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called Branstad an "old friend" of the Chinese people, adding, "We welcome him to play a greater role in advancing the development of China-U.S. relations."

"We are willing to work with whomever that takes this position to strive for the continued, sound and steady development of bilateral ties," Lu said.

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