A Chinese company purchased hundreds of acres of North Dakota farmland mere minutes from a major US Air Force base, prompting national security fears as the communist country adds to its nearly 200,000 acres of US agricultural land worth $1.9 billion.
The China-based food producer, Fufeng Group, plans to build a corn-milling plant on its newly acquired 300 acres of land in Grand Forks, just 20 minutes down the road from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, where some of the nation’s most sensitive drone technology is based.
The purchase raised suspicions from military officers, national security experts and lawmakers alike.
The move could give China unprecedented access to the goings-on at the Air Force base, which also has a space-networking center that’s been characterized as ‘the backbone of all US military communications across the globe,’ according to CNBC.
Criticism of the Fufeng purchase comes as American lawmakers have been outspoken about limiting China’s ownership of valuable American agricultural land, which, as of 2019, consisted of at least 192,000 acres.
After the Fufeng Group purchased the North Dakota land for $2.6 million this year, Air Force Major Jeremy Fox wrote a memo in April characterizing the move as being emblematic of Chinese efforts to install themselves close to sensitive US defense installations.
He argued that the Fufeng property is located at just the right location for the company to intercept communications coming from the Air Force base.
‘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,’ Fox wrote.