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Senate panel OKs senator to be US envoy to China

WASHINGTON--The Senate Foreign Relations committee has easily approved President Barack Obama's nomination of veteran Sen. Max Baucus to become U.S. ambassador to China.

Baucus is a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade issues. The 72-year-old was first elected to the Senate in 1978.

Baucus has said he wants to help build a better economic relationship with China. The U.S. trade deficit with China is far bigger than it is with any other country, and China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.

China also has a growing military and a government that U.S. officials say has a poor human rights record. The Senate panel approved Baucus Tuesday by a voice vote. The full Senate is expected to confirm Baucus' nomination later this week.

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