Bannon Held Secret Meeting With China's Second Most Powerful Man

Shortly after Steve Bannon visited Hong Kong last week to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group, Trump's former strategist flew to Beijing for a "secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official", less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at “economic war with China”, the FT has reported.

The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, where Bannon meet with Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign.

"The Chinese reached out to Bannon before his Hong Kong speech because they wanted to ask him about economic nationalism and populist movements which was the subject of his speech," the FT quoted a "person familiar" with the situation.

Mr Wang, who is seen as the second most powerful person in China after President Xi Jinping, arranged through an intermediary for a 90-minute meeting after learning that Mr Bannon was speaking on the topic, according to the second person, who stressed there was no connection to President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to China.

As the FT adds, the (not so) secret meeting between Bannon and Wang will "stoke speculation that the Chinese anti-graft tsar, who has purged hundreds of senior government officials and military officers for corruption in recent years, may continue to work closely with Mr Xi during his second term in office."

Under recent precedent, Mr Wang, who turned 69 in July, would be expected to step down from the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist party’s most powerful body. But his many admirers argue that as China’s most knowledgeable and experienced financial technocrat, he should stay on to help Mr Xi force through a series of stalled financial and economic reforms.

Incidentally, before his appointment as head of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Wang was Beijing’s point man for Sino-US relations and has played a pivotal role in most of China’s key financial reforms over the past 20 years. And while Wang no longer has an official government position, he has continued to meet regularly with international figures such as former US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde and the hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio. Earlier this week Wang also held an unexpected meeting in Beijing with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

Ironically, while Bannon himself no longer has an official post, many pundits suggest that his influence on Donald Trump is just as expansive now that he has returned to run Breitbart, as it was during his brief tenure on the administration.  During last week's CLSA conference, Bannon said he left the White House to be Trump’s “wingman” and to campaign on behalf of congressional candidates who would back the president’s “America first” agenda. Furthermore, Bannon has long argued that the US needs to take a tougher economic stance against China, which he argues is responsible for the hollowing out of manufacturing jobs in the US.

To be sure, the topic of bilateral trade between China and the US has become as a core focus for the two nations. After Trump won the election, China frequently approached Jared Kushner to help "navigate the US-China relationship." But Kushner has taken much less of a role in recent months leaving Rex Tillerson, secretary of state, as point man. While the former Exxon CEO has been leading efforts to get Beijing to put pressure on North Korea, some Chinese experts have expressed concern that the administration does not have a clear point person to handle the relationship with China.

Trade will be a key topic as well this week, when Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary who worked closely with Mr Bannon to press for tougher trade measures against China, travels to Beijing to pave the way for Trump’s November summit with Xi. The trip comes as the US struggles to engineer some of the measures against China that Mr Trump talked about during the campaign and after his election. Efforts to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports have stalled amid concerns about the effect on the US economy.

In July, Mr Ross asked Mr Trump to consider a deal on reducing Chinese steel overcapacity that he had crafted with Wang Yang, a Chinese vice-premier. But Mr Trump rejected the offer and dismissed a second improved version, telling his commerce secretary that he wanted to find ways to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

As for what Bannon discussed with Wang during the informal summit, it remains to be disclosed.

Comments

Manthong knukles Fri, 09/22/2017 - 18:02 Permalink

 
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Hmm… America’s second most powerful man meets in secret with China’s second most powerful man.

In reply to by knukles

Anteater Fri, 09/22/2017 - 13:46 Permalink

They are parking shares of China Steel in Bannon's stock portfolioin return for Trump sanctions-easing, then Bannon will contribute$1,000,000s to Jared Kushners Trump Super PAC, and thats howthese things are conducted. Meanwhile, China has also waived alltaxes and developer fees for Trump's new $4B hotel:casino project.Make Almighty Greed Anonymous! WINNING!!

Freddie Fri, 09/22/2017 - 13:59 Permalink

Where is America's "anti-graft tsar?"   I know it is not Trump or Sessions because they refuse to indict Ivanka and Jared Soros-Kushner's pals the Clinton klan.  Also the criminal Bush klan.I wish America had an anti-graft tsar.  They would start in DC, the Pentagram, Wall Street, the Fed and the list is almost endless. 

DemandSider Gorgeous Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:53 Permalink

A hackneyed and disrcedited defense of "free trade" with PRC's government owned manufacturing complex. In actuality, the last bill Hoover signed was the "Buy American Act" of 1933, which forced FDR's Kenysian spending to be recycled within the U.S. Had previous protectionists, starting with Hamilton, and later, Lincoln, not preserved American manufacturing and current account surplus, The U.S. would not have been in a dominant position until The Vietnam apocolypse lead to cancerous, and likely, terminal external debt.

In reply to by Gorgeous

Gorgeous DemandSider Fri, 09/22/2017 - 16:31 Permalink

My point of bringing up the bankers protest to Smoot-Hawley was not that it was particulary justified, but that when the bankers want something, and don't get it, there can be economic consequences.I am all for surplus recycling to be contained within the US.  We have the economic diversity.  Government would have to kill the Unions and incentivise tax/regulation relaxed industrial zones.  The last person capable of killing the unions got Scalia-ed.

In reply to by DemandSider

DemandSider Gorgeous Mon, 09/25/2017 - 02:25 Permalink

Heavily unionized Germany has the largest current accont surplus in the world. German law also requires that large corporations' boards have at least 50% labor representation. Unfortunately, American labor unions and corporate executives have often forgotten that, ultimately, their success depends on the competiveness of their product.Public unions are another matter, though. Their fortunes are determined by their political clout. 

In reply to by Gorgeous

Herdee Fri, 09/22/2017 - 14:53 Permalink

Bannon's about 40 years too late. The hollowing out of manufacturing in America made all the politicians rich because they pass the laws and trade on that inside information ahead of time. Washington is the ticket to get filthy rich trading on inside information but these scum bags have got the laws in place to permit that for themselves. Anybody ewlse goes to jail. Both parties sold out the American people to Communist China and everybody else. They're all the same corrupt group of whores that are bankrupting America today because it's all passed down the line.

Oldrepublic Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:08 Permalink

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http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/china-punishes-210000-officials-corruption-170720170506456.html there are a lot of things that I do not like about the Chinese government, but I like its hard line on official corruption. According to this Aljazeera article, China has punished over 200,000 officials this year for corruption. In 2007 it even executed its former chief Drug Chief http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/business/worldbusiness/11execute.html “China executed its former top food and drug regulator on Tuesday for taking bribes to approve untested medicine, as the Beijing leadership scrambled to show that it was serious about improving the safety of Chinese products.”  

pfwed Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:16 Permalink

so he goes from one meeting casually characterized as "behind closed doors" to another meeing breathlessly called "secret" ... is there something to see here? some kind of 'point'? ... even innuendo falls limp the way it's laid out ... ???

Here We Go Rou… Fri, 09/22/2017 - 17:26 Permalink

Bannon is the one who fooled us all before the election. He is a real master of image manipulation. The secret is simple: always offer the media stuff that they cannot resist, because at least at first sight it looks discreditable to you, so they are motivated to dish the dirt on you. But it will rebound to your advantage, if you are following Bannon's strategy, because in the end, all publicity is good. People become fascinated by you, and the enigma that you appear to represent. Another master of this method was Malcolm McLaren, who even explained it gleefully to the newspapers and TV channels while he was doing it to them, and they still fell for it.