Branstad makes case in hearing to become U.S. Ambassador to Chin - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad makes case in hearing to become U.S. Ambassador to China

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Governor Branstad is one step closer to becoming the U.S. Ambassador to China. Branstad made his case Tuesday morning in his first confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations committee in Washington D.C. 

During the two hour hearing, Governor Branstad was forced to think critically about his position if confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China. 

"I was one of the early Governor's to go to China, and I've always tried to recognize my responsibility as an American to represent our values and to espouse those," said Gov. Branstad. "It would be my intention as Ambassador to bring up these difficult issues that the Chinese leadership may not want to talk about, but are important."

Members of the committee were able to pick the Governors brain about a number of issues, ranging from human rights, intellectual property, trade, and North Koreas nuclear behavior.

"I recognize as Ambassador it will be an even bigger responsibility because I'll be representing the whole United States of America, and when Americans or anyone else in the world are not treated fairly, I think I as ambassador need to bring that issue up to the people in power in Beijing."

Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware asked the Iowa Governor how he plans to open Chinese markets to U.S. products including beef and poultry. 

"You grow a great deal of corn and soybeans and we do too," said Coons. "And we feed them to our chickens and we'd like our chickens to go to China."

More than once, senators posed the question of how Branstad would handle China's critical role in North Korea's nuclear behavior.

"What do you plan to do if China fails to uphold either the United Nations resolutions or indeed fails to use its influence over North Korea's regime?" asked Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. 

"I think what's happening right now with North Korea is an example of why that needs to change," said Branstad. "This is a very serious situation. And I don't think China wants to have a flood of refugees from North Korea going into their country. I also think they recognize, as well as other countries in Asia recognize, this nuclear obsession that the leadership of North Korea has with missiles and everything is a very serious threat to human kind, and we need to all look at ways that we can work together."

Many also asking how the Governor plans to use his long-standing friendship with President Xi of China. 

"I hope that my long-time relationship with the leader of China, I can convey to him we sincerely want to work with them," said Branstad. "And that we want to work with other nations as well, because this is one of the most important and serious threats facing us all at this time."

Branstad, also made no objection to using that friendship with President Xi to uphold American values. 

"The fact that the leader of China calls us an old friend doesn't mean that I'm going to be at all reluctant or bashful in bringing up issues where we think they've not been fair," said Branstad. 

It could take several more weeks for the governor to move through the confirmation process. If approved, Branstad's nomination goes on to the full senate for a vote.

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