The residents of North Dakota were recently made aware of a Chinese plan to set up a corn mill next to a highly sensitive military base and chose to take matters into their own hands, which resulted in the project being entirely blocked.
In the aftermath of what has reportedly been a Chinese spy balloon being shot down in the wake of flying out over sensitive U.S. military installations, the Grand Forks City Council, which is aware that the U.S. military did not have the jurisdiction to stop the project, took a vote with unanimous results this past Monday to put an end to the Chinese food producer Fufeng Group’s plans of creating a large mill area just a scant 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base. This past spring a group of three North Dakotans sold off the land for millions of dollars; brandon Bochenski, the mayor of the town, highlighted that the proposed $700 million plant would create quite a few new jobs, to the tune of 200, but also admitted that there were intense concerns for national security.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) considered an October 2022 filing by the Fufeng Group to acquire certain assets in the vicinity of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Grand Forks Air Force Base is the center of military activities related to both air and space operations,” warned Andrew P. Hunter, the U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary, to North Dakota senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer back in January.
“While CFIUS concluded that it did not have jurisdiction, the Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project represents a significant threat to national security with both near and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,” he stated.
“With regard to Fufeng, if you’re going to strategically decouple, that means we don’t want their investment,” expressed Cramer this past June.
Before all of that, Air Force Major Jeremy Fox issued a memo that stated, “some of the most sensitive elements of Grand Forks exist with the digital uplinks and downlinks inherent with unmanned air systems and their interaction with space based assets,” adding, “if proximal access were given to our adversaries, and their collections were directed at us, it would present a costly national security risk causing grave damage to (the) United States’ strategic advantages.”
“Passive collection of those signals would be undetectable, as the requirements to do so would merely require ordinary antennas tuned to the right collecting frequencies. This introduces a grave vulnerability to our Department of Defense installations and is incredibly compromising to US National Security,” he went on.
The meeting held on Monday consisted of comments from members of the public prior to the vote. One citizen cried out, “Why would an individual, or individuals, or a company be involved with somebody that is aggressive to the United States, especially if they’re an adversary against us? The only conclusion I come is up with is money, black mail prestige, power, sedition, treason. I’m not understanding, why would you advocate for it? How can you defend yourself against a foreign enemy against the United States? Those are questions that need to be asked.”