By Vicki Needham - 01/28/14 03:39 PM EST
Sen. Max Baucus (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 Johnson (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."
"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.