WASHINGTON (AP) - The nomination of veteran Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China reflects the importance to Washington of advancing the economic relationship with the Asian power despite recent strains on security issues.
The Montana Democrat lacks foreign policy credentials but has a track record of pressing Beijing on trade and currency issues. If confirmed by the Senate, he will be looking to see that U.S. companies can benefit from market reforms the ruling communist party promised in November.
The economic relationship between the countries is loaded with its own problems. Among them are accusations of rampant Chinese cybertheft of U.S. trade secrets. But the countries' national interests are more aligned on economic ties than on security. China is challenging decades of U.S. military pre-eminence in the Asia-Pacific.