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US ambassador: China, US see more collaboration

By Han Shasha (People's Daily Online)    16:41, December 27, 2017

Terry Branstad, U.S. ambassador to China, said that chemistry between Chinese and American leaders is really good at the Iowa-China Business Forum on Dec. 22, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Han Shasha/People's Daily Online)

“We handled at the embassy in Beijing about 4,000 visas a day,” said Terry Branstad, U.S. ambassador to China, whose words wowed attendees at the Iowa-China Business Forum in downtown Des Moines, capital city of Iowa recently. 

“I am always looking for win-win solutions which are beneficial to both countries,” the ambassador and former governor of Iowa said during an exclusive interview with People’s Daily Online on the sidelines of the forum on December 22, during his stay back to Iowa.

Branstad told over 100 business and political representatives that it’s a great honor to be selected by President Donald Trump to represent the U.S. in the most important bilateral relationship in the world. “I feel very fortunate that we have long standing relationship with China going back to the time we established the sister states.”

He talked about the history of signing the Iowa-Hebei Sister State/Province agreement with then Hebei governor Zhang Shuguang. In 1985, Xi Jinping, then a county leader in Hebei province, visited Iowa through the sister-state/province program. In 2012, Xi returned to Iowa as vice-president of China. It was his first time back to the state since 1985.

“A lot of the media tends to dwell on the negative, but there are a lot of things that we are working on together.”

“First of all, the chemistry between the two leaders is really good. President Trump and President Xi met in Mar-a-Lago. They were together in Germany. They met at the state visit in Beijing. And there have been ten phone calls between the two leaders. And that’s an extraordinary number.”

He added: “Even though there are differences, they have honest and frank discussions, and progress has been made.” He said that both sides are seeing more collaboration and working together to address the threat from North Korea with the nuclear and ballistic missiles. “That’s the number one thing we are working on.”

He also paid great attention to the bilateral trade. He said that China buys the most soybeans in the world and that the U.S. is excited that China has a market for beef. “We are working on that.”

This year, Branstad attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the China-U.S. Demonstration Farm, or the “Friendship Farm,” in Luanping County, Hebei Province, China, in September. It is a recreated version of Kimberley Farms in Iowa, where Chinese president Xi visited in 2012.

Rick Kimberley, president of Kimberley Farms Inc, told the reporter that the 3,000-acre demonstration farm uses the same modern equipment and technology that the Kimberley’s use. “It’s more than a farm, it’s a building-up friendship.” He has traveled several times to China to promote this project. “Grant, my son, his job is marketing the soybeans. He has been to China 15 times.”

The ambassador also shared his observations and experiences in China with People’s Daily Online. “China gains strength in its economy, has lifted a lot of people out of poverty, and its technology is rising forward. We see people making purchases with their cellphones, and renting bicycles within cellphones. All these kind of things you could not imagine a few years ago.”

Branstad said people-to-people relations are very important. “Once people get to know each other, appreciate and respect each other, I think things are going to happen.”

Swallow Yan, Executive Director of the Chinese Association of Iowa, told People’s Daily Online that the ambassador “always has that spirit to help both sides strengthen communications.” Mr. Yan would always bring his students to the open-to-public state executive council meetings when Branstad was the governor. The then-governor would always take pictures with the students individually afterwards. “He even received me and my son at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. I told my son that he is the first Iowa boy getting this opportunity.”

After Christmas, Branstad will return to Beijing. He told the reporter that he will go to Harbin, capital city of north eastern China’s Heilongjiang Province, when he gets back to China. “I have been to over eight provinces so far, and l am looking to visiting many more,” he said with a smile.

At the end of his interview, the ambassador told us that his five-year-old granddaughter can sing “happy birthday” in Chinese. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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