David Rank, the US charge d’affaires in China, speaks at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on November 21, 2016. (AP photo)
Acting US ambassador to China David Rank has resigned in protest against President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate accord.
A US State Department official confirmed Monday that Rank, who was the US charge d’affaires in Beijing, left his post but would not say why.
"He has retired from the foreign service," said Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the department's East Asia Bureau. "Mr. Rank has made a personal decision. We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department."
Rank was serving as the top US diplomat in China until the arrival of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as ambassador to China later this month.
Rank was a respected foreign service officer who joined the State Department in 1990. He served in Greece, Mauritius, Taiwan, Shanghai and Afghanistan.
"Dave Rank is the best America has to offer," Scott Mulhauser, the former chief of staff at the US Embassy in Beijing, told NBC News. "There is a reason he's received ever-tougher postings from presidents and secretaries on all sides of the political spectrum
Speaking at a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, a move that would have profound effects on the planet and deepen a rift with American allies.
Trump has faced a strong backlash both in the US and abroad for his decision to leave the Paris accord.
A poll published on Monday shows 59 percent of Americans oppose ditching the 2015 climate treaty, saying it will damage the global standing of the US.
Despite Trump's decision to withdraw from the climate agreement, dozens of governors and mayors from states and cities across the US have vowed to continue to honor the goals of the accord to reduce global warming.

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