US Senate panel okays ambassador nominee to China

Updated: 2014-02-05 09:41


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WASHINGTON - The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved the nomination of Senator Max Baucus to be the next ambassador to China.

US Senate panel okays ambassador nominee to China

Max Baucus, who was nominated by US President Barack Obama as the country's ambassador to China to replace Gary Locke, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jan 28, 2014. Sun Chenbei / China Daily

The unanimous passage in a voice vote set the stage for Baucus' confirmation on the Senate floor expected later this week.

President Barack Obama nominated Baucus as his new ambassador to China in December, as Gary Locke, the incumbent ambassador, announced his intention to step down early this year.

A Montana Democrat, 72-year-old Baucus was first elected to the Senate in 1978. He is the third longest-serving senator and currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, and a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing held late last month by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the senator pledged to work hard to strengthen US-China relationship, which he called " 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," he said then.