Ranking US diplomat in China resigns

08 June, 2017, 04:36 | Author: Essie Rivera

Rank was serving as the top USA diplomat in China until the arrival of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as ambassador to China later this month.

The news of Rank's resignation follows a dust-up over some tweets from the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in London.

The U.S. State Department confirmed the announcement, saying it was a "personal decision" but offered no details about his reasons for stepping down.

President Trump's decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate accord was met with widespread condemnation, and two top CEOs - Tesla's Elon Musk and Disney's Robert Iger - resigned from White House advisory councils in protest. Trump said he would negotiate to possibly re-enter the agreement, which most of the world has already ratified, on new terms.

Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the climate treaty Thursday, which was negotiated in 2015. He said in good faith he could not deliver the message to the Chinese that the USA had made a decision to drop out of the Paris climate agreement.

According to Pomfret, Rank stepped down because he "could not back Trump on climate" and had been dismayed by the president's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

Rank's resignation was a display of the diplomatic unease over Trump's decision to exit the Paris accord.

And in May, Dana Shell Smith, ambassador to Qatar, tweeted she was finding it hard to explain "our democracy and institutions" after Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. "We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department", the official told ABC News.

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Rank's decision was reported earlier on Twitter by John Pomfret, an editor-at-large with SupChina.

This comes after we heard from the acting ambassador in Great Britain praising the mayor of London at the very time that the President was attacking the mayor of London.

The state department said the embassy's economics councillor Jonathan Fritz would be filling in behind Mr Rank immediately.

Rank, who speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, Dari and Greek, was a China hand who was on his fourth tour in China.

Rank was a respected foreign service officer who joined the State Department in 1990.

Colleagues said Rank isn't someone who would take political sides, describing him as a nonpartisan career professional.

"I couldn't tell you what his politics were until now", he said.

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