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

Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusSteady American leadership is key to success with China and Korea Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate Canada crossing fine line between fair and unfair trade 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 JohnsonGOP senators eager for Romney to join them The House needs to help patients from being victimized by antiquated technology Comey’s original Clinton memo released, cites possible violations 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.