Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early Monday U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad would leave the post, Reuters reported.
“I thank Ambassador Terry Branstad for his more than three years of service to the American people as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China,” Pompeo said in a Twitter post.
“Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair,” he added.
Branstad was embroiled in a recent controversy when China’s official People’s Daily newspaper rejected an opinion column that he had submitted. It wasn’t clear if his apparent departure was related to the piece, The Associated Press reported.
Pompeo tweeted last week that China’s ruling Communist Party refused to run Branstad’s op-ed while the Chinese ambassador to the United States “is free to publish in any U.S. media outlet.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded that Branstad’s article was “full of loopholes, seriously inconsistent with facts and wantonly attacks and smears China.”
The U.S. Embassy had contacted the People’s Daily on Aug. 26 about the piece, asking that it be printed in full without any edits by Sept. 4.