Acting U.S. Ambassador to China Resigns Over Trump’s Paris Agreement Decision

Acting US ambassador to China David Rank resigned from his post in Beijing over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, several sources familiar with the decision told CNN.

A career foreign service officer since 1990, Rank assumed the position of deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Beijing in January 2016 and had been serving as charge d’affaires until the arrival of Trump’s pick for the job, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who was confirmed by Congress late last month.

“Dave is exactly the type of diplomat any American would want representing their interests abroad, and he was sought after within the State Department for increasingly difficult and challenging assignments because he’s strategic, smart, savvy, curious, loyal and non-partisan,” said Dan Feldman, who worked with Rank for five years on Afghan issues.

“Given he spent much of his career seeking to strengthen the US-China relationship to benefit all Americans, we need his expertise and skills now more than ever before,” he said. “It’s heart-wrenching that we’re losing career officers of his talent, as they pride themselves on serving any administration, but some are increasingly grappling with whether they must take principled decisions as they balance their sense of duty with their conscience.”

Rank has served in several senior positions within the US State Department including time as the director of the office of Afghanistan affairs and as a senior adviser to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Mr. Rank made a personal decision,” a senior State Department official told CNN, stopping short of citing the climate deal developments as the reason. “We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department.”

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.

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SOURCE: CNN, Elise Labott, Zachary Cohen and Michelle Kosinski