Senators vote 75-18 to confirm long-time diplomat.
WASHINGTON (AA) – The US Senate on Thursday approved Nicholas Burns to become the country’s next ambassador to China.
Senators voted 75-18 to confirm the veteran diplomat, who will be representing the US as relations between the two countries are at their lowest point.
The two nations have been at loggerheads over a number of issues, including trade, Taiwan and the Chinese military’s activities in the South China Sea as well as human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.
The post of US ambassador has been vacant since former ambassador Terry Branstad left Beijing in October 2020 under former President Donald Trump.
Burns was nominated by President Joe Biden in August.
His approval came hours after the US Senate passed a bill that bans goods from China’s Muslim majority Xinjiang region produced with forced labor.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act unanimously cleared the upper chamber of Congress. It cleared the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The bill seeks to ensure that goods made with forced labor from Uyghurs and others in Xinjiang do not enter the US market. It also requires companies to prove that they do not import goods from Xinjiang that come from forced labor.