Shortly before leaving the White House, former chief strategist Steve Bannon gave an exclusive interview to The American Prospect, a left-leaning magazine, in which he said the USA should be "maniacally focused" on an "economic war with China".
The move is part of a broader, complex diplomatic strategy of juggling Washington's competing policy goals with China, balancing the desire for more cooperation in controlling North Korea against a desire to curb the $347 billion USA trade deficit with China.
Michael Froman, former USTR under the Obama administration, has also warned that the United States could face retaliation by other trading partners, if the Trump administration moves away from resolving trade disputes through the WTO and instead starts taking unilateral actions. "To me the economic war with China is everything".
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Asked about any connection between his economic nationalism and white nationalism in the United States, and in particular the racist violence in Charlottesville, Bannon said: "Ethno-nationalism it's losers. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats".
However, Bannon, who formerly led the right-wing website Breitbart, said focusing on race would help the Republicans politically.
Commenting on his remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in Beijing warned that "there is no victor in a trade war" and appealed for dialogue. "We hope that the relevant persons can stop perceive an issue of the 21 century with the zero-sum mentality of the 19th or 20th century". "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us", Bannon said.
China warned "there is no victor in a trade war" after President Trump's chief strategist called for taking a tougher economic stand against the country, according to a report on Thursday.More news: Trump attacks Merck after CEO quits president's board in protest
The Trump administration estimates that China's intellectual property theft could cost the United States as much as $600 billion a year.
In the interview, Bannon said that he is getting hawks placed at key position. The use of Section 301 fell out of fashion around the same time. "We gotta do this". "That's a fight I fight every day here", he said. The president's default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going insane.
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