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WASHINGTON (AP) — The former senator President Donald Trump picked to be his ambassador to New Zealand has pledged to push for expanded trade and military cooperation with the island nation.

Scott Brown told Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that New Zealand is an important ally in the Pacific as China continues to flex its economic and military might. Brown says the United States would be at a “tactical disadvantage” without the close partnership.

Brown, who served in the National Guard, appears headed toward easy confirmation. He faced no opposition during the hearing that lasted less than an hour. Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, called Brown the “perfect person” for the post.

Brown, a Republican, represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 2010 to 2013. He lost the seat to Elizabeth Warren.