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

Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan 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 JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate probes FBI's heavy-handed use of redactions to obstruct congressional investigators Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult 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.

Read more from The Hill.