The top American diplomat in China, David Rank, has left the State Department over the decision by President Donald Trump and his administration to leave the 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change. Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the State Department's East Asia Bureau, did confirm that Rank is leaving his post. China expert and journalist John Pomfret tweeted that unnamed sources told him that Rank resigned over the agreement.

However, Rickey-Allen said that she could not verify that Rank left his position because he felt he was unable to deliver a formal notification to China that the United States had quit the agreement.

Who is David Rank?

David Rank is a career foreign service officer who has been with the State Department for 27 years. He served as the political councilor to the American Embassy in Afghanistan from 2011-12. Last January he took over the post of deputy chief of the U.S. mission in China's capital, Beijing.

Since January 20th of this year he has served as the charge d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in lieu of President Donald Trump's ambassador to China being appointed and starting his job. An official speaking under anonymity said that the State Department told Rank to leave his post immediately following him having announced his intention to retire yesterday.

With David Rank gone the U.S.

Embassy's economic councilor, Jonathan Fritz will now serve as the charge d'affaires. President Donald Trump's pick to be ambassador of China, Terry Branstad, was confirmed by the Senate to the position on May 22nd and officially sworn in two days later. Brandstand is expected to officially take up his post in China at some point later this month.

The new top diplomat in China

Terry Branstad has a long history serving in public office, starting with him serving three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1973-79. He then served as Lieutenant Governor of Iowa from 1979-83. He then was elected to be Governor of Iowa at age 36, the youngest governor in the state's history.

Branstad then served four terms as governor from 1983-99. He then was elected as governor again in 2011 and was reelected in 2015 before leaving his post as governor this May. He leaves his time in Iowa as the longest-serving governor in the history of the state.

During his time in office he fostered a relationship with China, as Iowa exports more soybeans to China then all other countries on Earth combined. Branstad and Chinese President Xi Jinping met 27 years ago when he was part of a Chinese delegation in Iowa to learn about American farming practices. President Xi regards Branstad as an "old friend", while Branstad said that they have "respect and admiration for each other."