Branstad front-runner for China post
• Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is the front-runner for the crucial post of U.S. ambassador to China.
A decision may follow meetings between Branstad and members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team in New York in the coming week, said three people with knowledge of the matter.
The potential move to name Branstad comes at a time of heightened tensions with China after Trump abandoned almost four decades of diplomatic protocol on Friday by speaking directly with the leader of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rogue province. Trump hasn’t named his choice for secretary of state, the top U.S. diplomatic post.
The longest-serving governor in U.S. history, Branstad will be in New York this week for previously scheduled work related to Iowan economic development, his spokesman said. Meetings with Trump transition officials are likely to be added to his schedule, according to advisers to both Trump and Branstad. Trump will be in Iowa on Thursday for a stop on his post-election victory tour.