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Bannon:No Military Solution for NKorea 08/17 06:02

   BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) -- President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve 
Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and 
its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further 
aggression with "fire and fury."

   In an interview with The American Prospect posted online Wednesday, Bannon 
tells the liberal publication that the U.S. is losing the economic race against 
China. He also talks about purging his rivals from the Defense and State 
departments.

   Bannon is also asked about the white supremacist movement, whose march on 
Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend led to deadly violence. He dismisses 
them as "losers," ''a fringe element" and "a collection of clowns."

   The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

   "There's no military solution (to North Korea's nuclear threats), forget 
it," Bannon says. "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."

   Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "made a 
very wise and well-reasoned decision" by backing down after heightening fears 
of nuclear conflict in a series of combative threats, including against the 
U.S. territory of Guam.

   Bannon also outlined his push for the U.S. to adopt a tougher stance on 
China trade, without waiting to see whether Beijing will help restrain Kim, as 
Trump has pressed China's leader to do. Trump also has lamented U.S. trade 
deficits with China.

   "The economic war with China is everything," Bannon says. "And we have to be 
maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I 
think, 10 years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll 
never be able to recover."

   A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Thursday both 
sides have benefited from trade.

   Asked about Bannon's comments, Hua said at a regular new briefing, "There is 
no winner in a trade war. We hope the relevant people can refrain from dealing 
with a problem in the 21st century with a zero-sum mentality from the 19th or 
the 20th century."

   Hua appealed for dialogue to "preserve the sound and steady growth of 
China-U.S. relations."

   Bannon was a key general election campaign adviser and has been a forceful 
but contentious presence in a divided White House. The former leader of 
conservative Breitbart News, Bannon has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest 
advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner.

   The president is under renewed pressure to fire Bannon, who has survived 
earlier rounds of having fallen out of favor with Trump.

   Earlier this week, the president passed up an opportunity to offer a public 
vote of confidence in Bannon. Trump said he's a "good person" and not a racist, 
adding that "we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon."

   The latest anti-Bannon campaign comes as Trump faces mounting criticism for 
insisting that white supremacist groups and those who opposed them were both at 
fault for deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

   In the interview, Bannon muses about getting rid of administration officials 
who disagree with his strategy toward China and North Korea and replacing them 
with "hawks."

   "We gotta do this. The president's default position is to do it, but the 
apparatus is going crazy," Bannon says. "Don't get me wrong. It's like, every 
day."


(KA)

 
 
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