The acting U.S. ambassador to China, David Rank, has abruptly resigned, telling colleagues he is leaving the foreign service over disagreements with President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
U.S. officials familiar with Rank's resignation said he announced his retirement Monday at a town hall meeting of embassy employees.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the announcement, saying it was a "personal decision'' but offered no details about his reasons for stepping down.
Rank has served as the deputy chief of mission at the embassy since January 2016 and had assumed the acting ambassador role until Trump's choice for ambassador, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, officially takes over later this month. Branstad was confirmed to the post last month.
Rank had been with the department for 27 years and served as the political councilor at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012.
Rank becomes the second U.S. ambassador to publicly split with Trump in the past few days. Acting U.S. Ambassador to Britain Lewis Lukens publicly praised London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his response to this weekend's terrorist attack after Trump criticized him on Twitter.
"I commend the strong leadership of the Mayor of London as he leads the city forward after this heinous attack," Lukens wrote.
Earlier Sunday, Trump criticized Khan for his comments following Saturday's attack that killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more.