Bannon taking his warning about China to Hong Kong

WASHINGTON • Mr Steve Bannon has been holding court in the Capitol Hill town house of Breitbart Media since he packed up his West Wing office last month, meeting conservative lawmakers, advocating hardline policies on unauthorised immigrants, and waging gleeful war on those he considers traitors to the Trump cause.

Next week, he plans to travel to Hong Kong to deliver a keynote address at an investor conference, where he will articulate his call for a much tougher United States policy towards China.

CLSA, the Hong Kong brokerage firm that invited Mr Bannon, 63, is owned by a politically connected Chinese investment bank, Citic Securities.

The meeting and speech will kick off an effort by Mr Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump's chief strategist, to influence his former boss on China policy as much as he does on immigration, trade or tax policy.

Given the lack of strong voices on China in the administration and the inconsistency in its approach, Mr Bannon believes he can make a difference, though his White House record was mixed.

It is no accident that of all the foreign policy issues he could have chosen, Mr Bannon gravitated to China, where he once lived and which he now views as the greatest long-term threat to the US.

"A hundred years from now, this is what they'll remember - what we did to confront China on its rise to world domination," he said in an interview, previewing the themes in his speech. "China, right now, is Germany in 1930," Mr Bannon said. "It's on the cusp. It could go one way or the other."

Among other things, Mr Bannon will tell his audience that they made their wealth on the backs of Mr Trump's voters. "China's model for the past 25 years, it's based on investment and exports," he said. "Who financed that? The American working class and middle class."

Mr Trump has suggested he will go easier on trade if China steps up its pressure on the rogue regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mr Bannon contends this is a sucker's bet. "If you're a great power," he asked, "how come you can't control the Frankenstein monster you created in North Korea?"

Mr Bannon would not be the first controversial figure to address the CLSA forum, which is attended by hundreds of asset managers each year. Mr Edward Snowden spoke via satellite in 2015, and Republican politician Sarah Palin appeared eight years ago.

NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 10, 2017, with the headline 'Bannon taking his warning about China to Hong Kong'. Print Edition | Subscribe