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US envoy nominee pledges to strengthen ties

Updated: 2014-01-29 10:48
( Xinhua)

US envoy nominee pledges to strengthen ties

US Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) testifies during his confirmation hearing to be the US ambassador to China before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, capital of the United States, Jan 28, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON -- Max Baucus, US President Barack Obama's pick for the new American ambassador to China, on Tuesday promised to work hard to improve Sino-US relationship, which he called as "one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world."

"If confirmed, I will strive to strengthen the US-China relationship for the benefit of our two countries and the world," Baucus, a Senator, spoke at the confirmation hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Baucus promised that he would get the China-US relationship right, because it will shape global affairs for generations to come. "If I am confirmed I look forward to working with members of this Committee and with other members of Congress to achieve that goal and strengthen ties between our two nations."

Baucus, 72, has learned some core lessons from his trips to foreign countries in the past decades as a US Senator. "Among the most important, 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.

The nominee, who has visited China for several times, said he looked forward to continuing the economic diplomacy to build "a stronger, more equitable economic relationship" between the two countries.

He touted the importance of engagement and cooperation with China, which he believes will help to achieve "concrete results."

"Leaders from both sides have recognized that we have much more to gain from cooperation than from conflict," Baucus said. "I believe that as well, and I see many areas of our relationship where cooperation is not only possible, but vital."

US President Barack Obama nominated Baucus in December as new ambassador to China to replace Gary Locke, who is the first Chinese-American to hold this position. Locke will step down in March after his two-and-half years' service in Beijing.

A Montana Democrat, Baucus is currently chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Before his election to the Senate in 1978, he was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1975 to 1978. He served in the Montana House of Representatives from 1973 to 1974.

In the 1990s, Baucus led the US efforts to admit China to the World Trade Organization and grant China permanent normal trade relation status. He has made eight trips to China and met with several top Chinese leaders.    

Baucus is expected to win the Senate confirmation smoothly as few Senators will face challenges in their nominations to a government position. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the hearing that he was sure that Baucus would be confirmed.

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