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Baucus: I'm 'no real expert on China'

Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusChina moves to lift ban on US beef Overnight Healthcare: Zika fight stalls government funding talks | Census finds big drop in uninsured | Mental health bill faces wait Glover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft MORE (D-Mont.) told lawmakers Tuesday that he is not an expert on China.

"I'm no real expert on China," Baucus, President Obama's nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to China, said in response to a question from Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonGrassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' California to allow experimental drug treatments for the terminally ill Warren to rally Wisconsin college students for Feingold MORE (R-Wis.).

Baucus made the comment during his confirmation hearing after Johnson asked about China's decision to impose an air defense zone over international waters.

The Montana Democrat said that while he wasn't an expert on China, "it is my strong belief that the Chinese people are just as proud as we Americans are proud."

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He told the Senate Foreign Relations panel that the Chinese leadership is taking advantage of that pride to test America in the East China Sea.

"I can't really tell you the motivation of Chinese leadership, but the approach that we should take is constructive engagement, talking but standing up, grounded in reality," he said.

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