U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad is stepping down amid increasingly strained ties between the world’s two biggest economies, announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
Thanking Branstad for his service, Pompeo said in a tweet that he had “contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair.”
Reasons for Branstad’s departure, which the U.S. Embassy later confirmed in a statement, were not immediately clear.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged Pompeo’s tweet, but said it had not received notice of Branstad’s resignation.
There wasn’t an indication from Pompeo or the U.S. embassy as to who President Trump might nominate to replace Branstad.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing released a statement saying Branstad would “retire from his position as U.S. envoy and depart Beijing in early October. The Ambassador confirmed his decision to President Trump by phone last week.”
The statement said that Branstad had thanked embassy staff in Beijing on Monday, quoting him as saying he was “proudest of our work in getting the Phase One trade deal and delivering tangible results for our communities back home. Our goal remains meaningful, measurable results for American families. We have made significant progress and we will not stop pressing for more.”