- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dozens of House Republicans told the Biden administration they fear a Chinese company’s purchase of farmland near a military base in North Dakota will imperil national security.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez, Florida Republican, sounded the alarm about the Fufeng Group’s purchase near Grand Forks Air Force Base in a new letter signed by 50 colleagues and sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. They fear the company will be too cozy with the communist government in Beijing.

“The Grand Forks Air Force Base has exceptional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, making the recently purchased land the ideal location to closely monitor and intercept military activity,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter obtained by Fox News. “The presence of a CCP-affiliated corporation near a military installation potentially undermines the integrity of our high-capability military bases, jeopardizing our strategic interests.”

They said the acquisition will set a poor precedent and could lead to new acquisitions by companies with ties to the communist government.

They also said foreign companies have too big of a stake — 37.6 million acres as of 2021— in U.S. agricultural land.

“This trend is expected to increase over the next few years, raising concerns about the negative potential implications it will have on domestic food production and national food security,” they wrote.

Fufeng’s decision to pay $2.3 million for 300 acres of land 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, through its Fufeng USA subsidiary, sparked a local debate in Grand Forks.

Some local politicians and Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, said the company’s plans to invest to open a massive food mill would generate good jobs while others raised concerns about the company and potential ties to the communist government, even putting hammer-and-sickle protest signs in their yards.

Grand Forks’s mayor recently said the city would pause construction on the mill while a federal national-security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is completed. 

Fufeng USA told the Grand Forks Herald it is cooperating with the review and “looks forward to a successful completion of the CFIUS process and will work diligently to make that happen.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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