south china sea war
Donald Trump's closest advisor thinks that the US will be at war with China in the next few years.

The far-right figure, who has been given unprecedented power in the White House and has suggested in the past that he supports white supremacy, suggested that the two countries are headed towards war over the South China Sea.

"We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren't we?" Mr Bannon said on his radio show in March 2016. "There's no doubt about that. They're taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it's an ancient territorial sea."

Tensions between the China and the US and Japan, as well as other countries, have increased in recent years over a dispute about who exactly owns the part of the Pacific Ocean. China has been asserting its ownership of the sea by building huge islands in it on which it has put military installations.

Since Donald Trump's election, and the anti-Chinese rhetoric that marked the campaign that preceded it, the relationship between China and the US has become increasingly fraught.

Last week a senior Chinese military official said that war with the US is "not just a slogan" and that it was becoming a "practical reality". The same official called for increased military deployments in the East and South China Seas to guard the area, according to the South China Morning Post.

Mr Bannon's views are coming under increased scrutiny as he ascends to power within the White House. Over the weekend it emerged that Mr Bannon had been appointed to a committee on which only senior generals usually sit - a move that journalist Michael Moore seemed to suggest a coup was underway.

The ex-head of Breitbart has in the past likened himself to Lenin, for instance. The Russian leader "wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment," he told a reporter from The Daily Beast.