Ranking US diplomat in China resigns

A US diplomat in Beijing embassy resigned on Monday following US President Donald Trump's announcement of withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the Washington Post reported.

China expert John Pomfret released a tweet quoting sources saying Rank's decision to step down.

Trump's choice as ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, has yet to arrive in the country. The Senate confirmed him for the position on May 22.

Charge d'affaires officer David H. Rank, a U.S. Foreign Service member of 27 years, resigned Monday, the State Department confirmed.

Mr Rank joined the state department in 1990 and had previously served in Afghanistan, Taiwan, Greece and Mauritius, according to his profile page which was still on the Beijing embassy's website as of Tuesday. "We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department", US embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley told AFP.

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.

"We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible, and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement can not be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies", said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Another tweet from Pomfret said Rank called a town hall meeting to announce his decision to embassy staff and explained that he could not deliver a diplomatic note informing the Chinese government of the US decision.

NAN reports that on June 1, Trump announced during a speech at the White House Rose Garden that he had chose to pull out of the landmark climate deal, in part because it would not reduce global temperatures fast enough to have a significant impact.

Rank did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens".

  • Leroy Wright