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Iowa’s Branstad Accepts Post as Trump’s Ambassador to China

Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits Seattle, Washington
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad greets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle, Washington, in September 2015. Pool / Getty Images

Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has accepted Donald Trump’s offer to be named Ambassador to China.

Branstad, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, met with Trump on Monday to discuss the post. He is a longtime friend of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whom he met during a Chinese delegation trip to Iowa in 1985.

The Iowa governor cited his friendship with China's leader in a statement accepting the post.

"I believe that the respect and admiration built over a decades-old friendship between President Xi and I give me an opportunity to help the President-elect and serve Iowa, the United States and the world for the better," he said.

The decision comes just days after Trump broke with decades of diplomatic protocol by speaking directly to the leader of Taiwan, which China still considers as part of its territory.

Trump was an outspoken critic of China throughout his campaign, frequently accusing the country of manipulating its currency and exploiting trade policy.