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Trump's Choice for Top China Diplomat has Long Ties to Xi

Dec 08 , 2016
  • AP

    The Associated Press

It may seem odd for the governor of a lightly populated agricultural state to be chosen as U.S. ambassador to China, especially amid escalating talk of a trade war with the major U.S. trading partner.

But Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad boasts a 30-year relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades.

"Given Xi's penchant to keeping things close-hold, it is important for the U.S. to have a reliable and direct communication channel to him," said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Branstad has met Xi periodically since 1985 and has a personal relationship with him that could be very useful." 


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