Top U.S. diplomat in Beijing resigns over climate treaty decision

June 6 (UPI) — The top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in China resigned over President Donald Trump‘s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate treaty, unnamed sources said.

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

Rank was due to be replaced by former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as U.S. ambassador after his confirmation in May. Rank’s responsibilities included formally notifying the Chinese government that the United States intends to leave the Paris accords, a policy Trump announced last week.

Rank told his staff that as “a parent, a patriot and a Christian,” he could not in good conscience do something in support of a policy, unnamed sources told NBC News.

Former Ambassador Dan Feldman, Rank’s supervisor for five years, called him a “quintessentially professional foreign service officer,” adding that he was “thoughtful, calm, judicious, non-political” and someone “you want representing the U.S. government abroad.” Feldman said the State Department was “losing incredibly gifted officers at a moment when the U.S. needed them more than any other time in recent history.”

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Although Rank intended 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 abroad regardless of administration decisions, The Washington Post said Tuesday.

The State Department announced that Jonathan Fritz was promoted to charge d’affaires to replace Rank, and will represent the United States in Beijing until Branstad arrives.

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