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U.S. Senate committee approves Biden nominees to be ambassador to China, Japan

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Former ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns gives his opening statement during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to China, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday backed 14 of President Joe Biden's nominees for diplomatic posts, including career diplomat Nicholas Burns to be ambassador to China and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual to represent the United States in Japan.

The nominees must still win the support of a majority of the full Senate, but all received bipartisan support at the committee level, a good indicator that they eventually will be confirmed.

There has been no word yet on when the full Senate would vote on the nominees.

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Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley announced before the committee business meeting that he would not back Emanuel. Merkley questioned Emanuel during his confirmation hearing about accusations of a coverup when he was Chicago mayor about the murder of a Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by a white police officer.

Emanuel expressed regret about events surrounding McDonald's death and said he thought about it every day. His nomination was supported by a strong majority of the committee.

Burns, who took a tough line on dealings with China at his Oct. 20 confirmation hearing, is also expected to easily win confirmation.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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