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New US ambassador to China to focus on North Korea, trade issues

Terry Branstad (left) speaks to media in front of his residence in Beijing on June 28, 2017, accompanied by his wife Christine, daughter, son-in-law as well as his two granddaughters. Photo:

Newly appointed US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad said on Wednesday that there is a need to work together with China in dealing with issues such as threat from North Korea, trade as well as increasing economic opportunities for people from both China and the United States.

Arriving at Beijing on Tuesday morning, Branstad told reporters that he is also looking forward to traveling throughout China and getting to know the people of the country.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to explore China during the time that I am the ambassador in China, and get to every province in China and meet people from all over this great country,” said Branstad who was accompanied by his wife Christine, daughter, son-in-law as well as his two granddaughters during Wednesday’s brief event.

A former Iowa governor having served the state for 22 years and four months, Branstad has been described by Beijing as an "old friend" of China, and has said resolving the bilateral trade imbalance and stopping the North Korea threat would be his top priorities.

He was nominated by President Donald Trump in December 2016, and was confirmed by the US Senate in May.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a boy from a small farm in Leland, Iowa, would one day have the opportunity to represent my country and my state on the world stage, working closely with one of the world's most influential countries and one of America's largest trading partners," he said in a statement after the confirmation.

Having traveled to China as the governor of Iowa state for six times previously since 1984 and established a long-standing relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Branstad said he is also looking forward to being an important emissary working between Xi and Trump who intends to visit China sometime later this year.

“I want to play an important role in helping make those arrangements,” he said. "Also we want to work on all those things we can do together for the benefit of protecting and improving the wellbeing of the people in both of our countries as well as the rest of the world."

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