If you haven’t heard, there’s a rather alarming trend starting to pop up all over the US. American farmland is not so slowly being bought up by the Chinese. But what’s even more startling is when those properties just happen to be in close proximity to US military bases.
This is what happened in North Dakota recently.
As The New York Times reported on Tuesday, Chinese agriculture company Fufeng USA bought 370 acres of prime farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota, late last June.
At the time, both the governor of the state, Doug Burgum, and the mayor of the city, Brandon Bochenski, didn’t think too much beyond the possible agriculture and economic opportunities the deal could bring, particularly when it was announced that Fufeng would be constructing a massive corn mill operation on the site.
However, it seems that neither Republican lawmaker took into consideration that a major US Air Force base lies just 12 miles from the now Chinese-owned land.
As you can imagine, the purchase and project’s construction have drawn some major questions of concern from those a bit more like myself who have grown suspicious of Chinese involvement in US operations or production.
Assistant Secretary to the Air Force Andrew P. Hunter must also be one such individual.
In fact, Hunter was so worried about the recent acquisition that he wrote letters to both of the state’s senators, John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, giving them a strict warning about the threat and dangers of having a Chinese-owned operation so close to the base.
According to Hunter’s letter, the proposed mill is indeed too close to the base for this not to be considered a threat. It stated that the Committee on Foreign Investment had looked into the situation and decided it could be a problem.
Hunter stated, “The Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project represents a significant threat to national security and with both near-and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”
However, the committee didn’t have jurisdiction over the case.
Needless to say, the Air Force’s concern was not quelled, and their resolve to rid the area of any possible Chinese involvement was only heightened – hence the letters to both senators.
And it appears that both Republican senators agree with that assessment. On Tuesday, they put out a joint statement saying they don’t think the project should be allowed to continue. Instead, they suggested that the involved parties “find an American company to develop the agriculture project.”
Also in agreement is Bochenski and governor Burgum now. According to the Times, the mayor has said that he will be working to block building permits and such so that the project cannot continue.
Now, it’s important to know at this point that these are not the mere worries or rantings of racist or anti-Chinese people. There are, in fact, very good reasons for both the Air Force and city and state leaders to be concerned about it.
For one, it was reported by CNBC that the Grand Forks Air Force Base is “home to some of the nation’s most sensitive military drone technology.” Can you imagine what the Chinese would or could do with some of that tech?
Additionally, it’s been noted by military officials and North Dakota lawmakers that the base is basically “the backbone” of all US military communications for the entire world, as it houses one of the newest space networking centers. Again, it wouldn’t be good news for anyone but the Chinese if the communist nation got its hands on or in that system.
And, as I’m sure you can imagine, a mere 12 miles isn’t a whole lot of separation to ensure that doesn’t happen.