Sen. Max Baucus told Senate colleagues on Tuesday that he is "no real expert on China," even though he's set to be the next United States ambassador to Beijing.
President Obama nominated Mr. Baucus in December, and he is expected to sail toward full Senate confirmation.
Sen. Ron Johnson asked Mr. Baucus, Montana Democrat, during confirmation hearings Tuesday why the People's Republic of China declared an air defense zone around a series of Pacific islands under Japanese control, Mediaite.com reported.
"Senator, I'm no real expert on China," Mr. Baucus replied. "It's my strong belief that Chinese people are just as proud as we Americans."
Mr. Baucus told colleagues that he would work to build a more equitable economic relationship with China if he is confirmed to become U.S. ambassador, the Associated Press reported.
"I have become a firm believer that a strong geopolitical relationship can be born out of a strong economic relationship, which often begins with trade," he said.
"I am sure you will be confirmed," said Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
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