The top career diplomat at the US embassy in China has stepped down, an official told AFP today, amid reports that he opposes President Donald Trump’s climate policy. Embassy charge d’affaires David Rank was a 27-year veteran State Department officer appointed to serve in Beijing in January last year.
Trump’s choice as the new ambassador to China, former Iowa governor Terry Branstad, has yet to arrive in country so it is not clear who currently runs the mission. “Mr Rank made a personal decision. We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department,” a State Department official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today that Jonathan Fritz will be serving as charge d’affaires,” she added. “I am not going to talk about the details of how we decide who fills what is, in any event, a temporary position, until the new ambassador arrives.”
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News of Rank’s resignation was broken on Twitter by veteran China reporter John Pomfret, an editor at the SupChina news site, formerly of the Washington Post.
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.