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President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon indicated he is not optimistic about the stalemate between the US and North Korea over that country’s nuclear weapons program.
“There’s no military solution, forget it,” Bannon said in an interview with The American Prospect published on Wednesday.
“Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten 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.
Defense analysts have emphasized the threat of North Korea’s ability to direct a sustained fire of artillery and rocket barrages, up to 300,000 rounds in an hour, to Seoul, South Korea’s capital.
Bannon did acknowledge he may support an agreement where China would persuade North Korea to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for removing US troops from the peninsula, but he called the deal unlikely, due to China’s unwillingness to act. As noted by American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner, the reality of “mutually assured destruction” may be enough of a deterrent.
“On Korea, [China’s] just tapping us along,” Bannon said. “It’s just a sideshow.”
Instead, Bannon proposed harsh sanctions against China and said he is betting on Trump’s plan to sign a measure that would open an investigation into intellectual property violations against American companies by Chinese firms.
Bannon claimed that the idea of sanctions against China were put on hold after the heated rhetoric between the US and North Korea escalated in recent weeks, Bannon said he’s determined to “run the tables” on China. “We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”
“It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path.”