Governor hopes to play important role when handling North Korea


It's been months in the works, but now the U.S. Senate is expected to approve Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. Ambassador to China later this week.

This comes after a legislative session where he's been able to work with a GOP-controlled legislature and sign into law significant pieces of GOP-backed bills.

While the Governor won't exactly be in charge of crating policy in this role, he will still be tasked with handling difficult matters.

"Ambassador Branstad's role will be to make nice to the Chinese when the Administration does things that Beijing doesn't like," Jonathan Hassid, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University, said.

Branstad told reporters this week he knows one tough issue he'll be working on is dealing with North Korea's nuclear efforts.

"I'm hopeful that I can play a role in encouraging more of that work and collaboration between the United States and China and reduce the threat and hopefully eliminate this," he told reporters this week.

Hassid said there's still a lot of uncertainty on what's to happen on these matters.

"China could certainly pressure North Korea harder and I'm sure that's the goal of the U.S Administration, but even harder pressure towards North Korea might not necessarily achieve anything," he said.

But Hassid does feel there are actions taken by the Administration that could help alleviate some tensions.

"It's constructive I think that the Trump Administration has backed away from some of its initial anti-China rhetoric," Hassid said.

Governor Branstad told reporters if confirmed, it will likely be a few days before he steps down. He also says he will have to go through an extensive orientation process to prepare for his new job.

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