US number two diplomat in China resigns over Trump's climate decision

Acting US ambassador to China David Rank has reportedly resigned from his post in Beijing over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

David Rank was supposed to deliver formal notification of the US intention to leave the pact, but he reportedly said that as, quote, "a parent, patriot, and a Christian", he could not in good conscience play a roll in implementing Mr. Trump's decision.

"He has retired from the foreign service", said Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the department's East Asia bureau.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed that Rank is "retiring", saying, "Mr".

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

U.S. media outlets say he stepped down over Mr Trump's controversial announcement last week that the USA was withdrawing from the Paris agreement.

Pomfret said Rank had called a meeting at the embassy about the U.S. withdrawal.

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.

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Coats declined to comment during a Senate armed services committee hearing Tuesday, that had been previously scheduled. In any case, the fact that Trump fired Comey while Comey was investigating many of his associates is suspicious.

In the wake of Trump's announcement hundreds of regional United States leaders have vowed to uphold the deal even without White House support. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

ABC News was first to report that the dissent channel was used in January to express opposition to Trump's original travel ban executive order.

Other than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his deputy John Sullivan and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, the third-ranking USA diplomat, most of the State Department's senior posts are now vacant or filled by acting officials.

Rank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Polley said the embassy informed China's foreign affairs ministry on Monday that Jonathan Fritz would be serving as charge d'affaires.

He has said withdrawing the USA from the 2015 Paris agreement - under which 188 countries committed to limiting rises in global temperatures - would protect the U.S. economy.

Contacted by Reuters for comment, Rank, a career foreign service officer who took over the post of deputy chief of mission in Beijing in January 2016, referred all questions to the usa embassy.

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