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Fears rise of US-Chi military confrontation over SCS: Guardian

Hong Kong, Feb 2: Fears of a US-Chi miliatary confrontation over the South Chi Sea (SCS) have risen after a known hawk who warned of this nine months ago has been inducted in a key slot in the Dold Trump administration and recent remarks on the issue by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a respected British daily said on Thursday. The sentiments of Steve Bannon, the former head of far-right news website Breitbart, “and his position in Trump’s inner circle add to fears of a military confrontation with Chi”, after Tillerson “said that the US would deny Chi access to the seven artificial islands. Experts warned any blockade would lead to war”, The Guardian reported.

“Bannon is clearly wary of Chi’s growing clout in Asia and beyond, framing the relationship as entirely adversarial, predicting a global culture clash in the coming years,” the report added. In the first weeks of Trump’s presidency, Bannon has emerged as a central figure.

He was appointed to the “principals committee” of the tiol Security Council in a highly unusual move and was influential in the recent controversial travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, and also for over-ruling Department of Homeland Security officials who felt the order did not apply to green card holders.

In a March 2016 radio show for Breitbart, Bannon had said: “We’re going to war in the South Chi Sea in five to 10 years…There’s no doubt about that.”

“They come here to the United States in front of our face…and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

Chi claims ownership of nearly the entire South Chi Sea. It has built a series of artificial islands on reefs and rocks in attempt to bolster its position, complete with military-length airstrips and anti-aircraft weapons.

On the day Trump was iugurated, Chi’s military warned that war between the two countries was a real possibility. “A ‘war within the President’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality,” an official wrote on the website of the People’s Liberation Army.

Aside from conflict between armies, Bannon repeatedly focused on his perception that Christianity around the world is under threat.

Bannon also forecasts another ground war for American troops in the Middle East and has branded Islam as “the most radical” religion in the world. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita