Top US diplomat quits over climate policy
WASHINGTON David Rank, the charge d'affaires of the US Embassy in Beijing, has left the State Department, apparently over Washington's decision to quit the 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change.
A State Department spokesman confirmed Mr Rank's departure, but said she was unable to verify Twitter posts that said he resigned as he felt unable to deliver a formal notification to China of the US decision last week to quit the agreement.
"He has retired from the foreign service," said Anna Richey-Allen, spokesman for the department's East Asia Bureau.
"Mr Rank has made a personal decision."
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, President Donald Trump's pick as the next US ambassador to Beijing, is expected to take up the post later this month.
A tweet from China expert John Pomfret quoted unnamed sources as saying that Mr Rank had resigned as he could not support Mr Trump's decision last week to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
Another tweet from Mr Pomfret said Mr Rank called a meeting to announce his decision to embassy staff and explained he could not deliver a diplomatic note informing the Chinese government of the US decision.
Mr Rank had been with the department for 27 years and served as the political councillor at the US Embassy in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. - REUTERS