Branstad: Chinese President Still Welcome

Aug 31, 2015

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he is not joining the calls for President Obama to cancel an upcoming state visit by the President of China.  Republican Presidential candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina are among those saying Obama should cancel Xi Jinping’s state visit next month because of what they call China’s efforts to undermine U.S. interests.  On Friday, Branstad said President Xi is an old friend and that relationship has been good for Iowa.

“I don’t think you abandon an old friend just because there are some differences of opinion,” he said.  “I would rather try to work those things out.  I recognize it is not my responsibility as governor of a state to conduct foreign policy for the United States of America.”

China is a major importer of Iowa soybeans and pork products.  Branstad first met President Xi in the 1980’s. 

“You know, I know that Walker is running for president,” he said.  “I’m the governor of Iowa.  My interest is jobs in Iowa and trade and things that help the State of Iowa.  I think foreign policy is an issue that obviously is dealt with by the president and people at the national level.”

Branstad has invited the Chinese leader to visit Iowa during his visit, though he acknowledges it’s a “long shot”.