BEIJING-The top-ranking US diplomat in Beijing resigned over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, depleting already thinned-out State Department ranks and depriving Washington of one of its most experienced China hands.
Trump's announcement on Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, saying it would undermine the U.S. economy and cost jobs, drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry.
Rank, did not have much of his job left, as the new ambassador, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, will take office later in June after he secured the Congress approval.
Pomfret added Rank had "called a town hall meeting" at the embassy "to say he could not deliver a demarche [initiative]" to China over United States withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
Last month, the ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, reacted to Trump's dismissal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James B. Comey, by tweeting, "Increasingly hard to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions". "We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department".More news: Gerrard urges Liverpool to sign Van Dijk
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Although Rank meant to resign his position by the end of the year, it is rare for Foreign Service officers to leave because of personal political opinion; they typically represent the United States overseas regardless of administration decisions, The Washington Post said Tuesday.
Rank was serving in China when President Xi Jinping and then-US President Barrack Obama jointly declared their commitment to the Paris agreement, which has been signed by 195 countries and ratified by 147.
News of Rank's resignation was broken by John Pomfret, an editor at the SupChina news site.
But sources familiar with the decision indicated that Rank's departure is directly tied to Trump's controversial move to pull out of the accord. Acting U.S. Ambassador to Britain Lewis Lukens publicly praised London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his response to this weekend's terrorist attack after Trump criticized him on Twitter.
"It's an extraordinarily unusual situation for the Foreign Service", said R. Nicholas Burns, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration, traditionally the top-ranking position for career diplomats.