Job boon or national security risk? Air Force shoots down China’s plan to build giant corn mill less than 15 miles from their North Dakota base – as communist-linked company looks to add to its 200,000 acres of US agricultural land worth $1.9billion
- Air Force sent a letter to senators condemning plans for the giant corn mill
- Despite the mill being a jobs boon, the Air Force says it is a national security risk
- The mayor, a onetime champion of the project, now says he’ll work to stop it
After about a year of debate over whether or not to build a corn mill in North Dakota, the United States Air Force has weighed in to say that the project ‘presents a significant threat to national security.’
In a letter, Assistant Air Force Secretary Andrew Hunter wrote that the proposed corn mill raised ‘near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.’
The subject of the letter is the plan by Fufeng USA to build a giant milling facility on the border of Grand Forks, North Dakota – about 12 miles from the Air Force Base.
At the outset of debate around the factory, some residents objected to establishing closer economic ties with China, others argued it could easily be used as a spying facility for the hostile Chinese government.
The city of about 60,000’s mayor, Brandon Bochenski, who previously supported the project, said Tuesday he would move to block construction by attempting to deny a number of building permits.
Grand Forks, North Dakota Air Force base. A Chinese-owned company is attempting to build a giant corn mill 12 miles away
Letter from the US Air Force condemning the building of the mill because of ongoing national security concerns
North Dakota’s two Republican senators – Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven – released the letter written by Hunter, as well as their own supporting statement condemning the project.
‘The Air Force left ambiguity off the table when they said: “The proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,”‘ said the senators.
‘As we have recommended, we believe the city should discontinue the Fufeng project and instead we should work together to find an American company to develop the agriculture project.’
Bochenski, who is a first-term mayor and former professional hockey player, had been hesitant to fight the tides of globalism when the opportunity to build the mill – a job boon for the area – first presented itself.
But in the wake of the Air Force’s letter, Bochenski changes his tune and said earlier this week he would help fight the project. Though, whatever action he takes, Fufeng USA – the American subsidiary of a Chinese company – will still own the land.
In recent months, building and work on the land development project had been stalled as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reviewed the Chinese-helmed company’s plans.
Ultimately, CFIUS determined it did not have jurisdiction over the land, further confusing the local officials dealing with the project.
‘The response from the federal government during this process can only be viewed as slow and contradictory,’ said Bochenski.
‘This directive leaves open the question of other entities with Chinese connections across the nation,’ he said, adding that a Chinese-owned aviation company in Grand Forks, as well as ‘Chinese students and professors at the University of North Dakota’ now may be subject to questioning.
Andrew P. Hunter, the Air Force Assistant Secretary who wrote the letter condemning the would-be Chinese-owned corn mill due to national security concerns
Both North Dakota Senators came in support of the Air Force’s position and condemned the building of the Chinese-owned corn mill