US Senate confirms Nicholas Burns as US ambassador to China
Washington, Dec 17 (EFE).- The United States Senate on Thursday approved widely respected career diplomat and Harvard professor Nicholas Burns as the country’s next ambassador to China.
The Upper House confirmed the nominee of President Joe Biden with 75 votes in favor and 18 against.
It comes a month after Republican senator Marco Rubio blocked Burns’ nomination over a “failure to understand the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a statement.
The senator also said the diplomat “displayed no remorse or concern” over his ties to corporations operating in China.
However, Rubio lifted his hold after the Senate on Thursday passed his Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, banning imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang over forced labor concerns.
In his October testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Burns said that the Biden administration will “compete vigorously” with China on “jobs and the economy, critical infrastructure, and emerging technologies,” although he left the door open for “cooperation” on issues such as climate change, health and non-proliferation.
His nomination was also controversial in the Asian country, as China hit back at Burns for stating that the country’s “genocide in Xinjiang and abuses in Tibet, its smothering of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, and its bullying of Taiwan are unjust, and must stop.”
He added that the US “should help Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
Throughout his diplomatic career, Burns was the US ambassador to NATO, “number three” in the State Department during the Republican George W. Bush administration, and served as ambassador to Greece under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
He will inherit one of Washington’s most complex and critical posts amid heightened tension between the two countries. EFE