Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has accepted Donald Trump's offer to be named ambassador to China, the president-elect's transition team announced on Wednesday.
Branstad, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, met with Trump on Monday to discuss the post, NBC News reported. He is a longtime friend of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whom he met during a Chinese delegation trip to Iowa in 1985.
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.
“Governor Branstad’s decades of experience in public service and long-time relationship with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders make him the ideal choice to serve as America’s ambassador to China,” Trump said in a statement.
Trump was an outspoken critic of China throughout his campaign, frequently accusing the country of manipulating its currency and exploiting trade policy.