Senate confirms Iowa governor as China envoy

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Joy Corning Dies at Age 84

On his record 8,167rd day as the nation's longest-serving governor, six-term Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad got the word Monday that he has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the new U.S. ambassador to China.

"I'm leaving the state in a better and stronger position than I found it", he said Monday, hours before the Senate voted to confirm him. He has been at the helm of Iowa government for more than 22 years. Their first meeting took place in 1985 when Xi was then a local provincial official who led an agriculture delegation to Iowa.

Relationships with China and President Trump, who nominated Branstad, have been under question since Trump and his family's corporations received trademarks in China following his election they had been previously denied.

Terry Branstad says one of his former lieutenant governors, Joy Corning, has died at age 84.

"Both products make a lot of sense for China", Branstad told Successful Farming.

Calling US-China relationship "multi-faceted", Branstad also noted that the two countries must work together on major security issues, including the denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and cyber security.

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For years, USA farmers have complained that China cancels previously purchased US soybean orders without any penalty.

Branstad, who is 70, says he intends to use his decades-long relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping to advance USA and global interests. Following the vote, he said Branstad had not defended American workers in his own state, and the senator had no faith in his ability to do so as an ambassador.

Dave Price of WHO-TV reports that Branstad will resign as Governor on Wednesday. Charles Grassley said he is, "pleased that (Branstad is) now been called to serve as Ambassador to China".

"Probably one of the most important consulate postings facing the United States as we enter this new phase of China-U.S. relations", said Arthur Dong, a professor at Georgetown University.

"He will bring midwestern humility and level-headed leadership to the job", Grassley said to the Senate. "Governor Branstad is uniquely qualified to help strengthen the trade, economic, cultural and geopolitical relationships between our two countries".