Senate approves Baucus as ambassador to China
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-07 09:52 AM
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to approve President Barack Obama's nomination of Senator Max Baucus, who has helped steer trade policy with China but has little expertise about military and other issues, as ambassador to Beijing.

Baucus would replace Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

The Senate voted 96-0 to confirm the 72-year-old Montana Democrat. Bausus holds one of the most powerful positions in the Senate as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees tax and trade policy. He took a firm stance against some of China's trade practices but also led successful U.S. efforts in the 1990s to help China's admission to the World Trade Organization and to begin normal trade relations with Beijing.

While China is the United States' second largest trading partner, the U.S. trade deficit with China hit $318 billion in 2013, far larger than it is with any other country. And there is an amount of $1.3 trillion in Treasury securities owned by China, making it the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.

On the other hand, according to foreign media report, a number of sensitive issues are awaiting Baucus to maneuver. U.S. officials have long criticized China for having a poor human rights record with political dissidents and many of its minorities. Meanwhile, Beijing has been modernizing its military forces and engaging in territorial disputes in the seas off East Asia with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, raising tensions in northeast and southeast Asia.

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