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US senators urge nominee for Beijing ambassador to be tough on China

Published on Jan 29, 2014 6:15 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States (US) lawmakers expressed concern about China's territorial ambitions at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday for the next American ambassador to China, and they urged him to take a tough line with Beijing.

Senator Max Baucus, President Barack Obama's nominee for the ambassador's post, told a Senate hearing he would do all he could to reduce tensions between China and its neighbors and said he would follow a "cautious" approach with Beijing.

Mr Baucus said he agreed with an assessment of Republican Senator John McCain that China was trying to reassert its historical position as the dominant power in Asia.

Mr McCain said China's construction and acquisition of an aircraft carrier was "a statement of a desire to project power" that should worry the US. He said tensions in the region had "implications that could lead to another 'Guns of August'" - a reference to the start of World War One in 1914.

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