National Security Council Coordinator Downplays Chinese Ownership of U.S. Land: ‘Not the Right Person’ to Ask

Council coordinator John Kirby claims it is “out of [his] swim lane” to address Chinese land acquisition.

QUICK FACTS:
  • National Security Council coordinator John Kirby addressed a question posed by a reporter regarding China’s land purchases near U.S. military bases, stating he “is not the right person to ask” about “homeownership.”
  • “Chinese investors were the most active buyers of U.S. real estate last year among foreigners,” the reporter began, “often paying cash for farms, homes above market rates, in many cases pushing American buyers out of the markets.”
  • “I’m wondering,” the reporter continued, “given the fact that a known adversary — in this case, China — foreign buyers are buying up U.S. real estate — in some cases, farms around military installations — is this on the administration’s radar? And what is being done, perhaps, to study this or to protect Americans from making sure that homes remain affordable and so on?”
  • Kirby appeared oblivious to the risks foreign companies purchasing land pose to national security, instead suggesting that “the question of homeownership” is beyond his role as a national security coordinator.
  • “What I will tell you is that the President has been nothing but clear about our concerns about Chinese unfair trade practices and economic practices,” Kirby said, his response lacking acknowledgment of the concerns shared by the reporter.
CHINA PURCHASES U.S. LAND:
  • Data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that China owns 191,000 acres of U.S. land.
  • This number increased after the Chinese company, Fufeng Group, obtained 300 acres of North Dakota land for $2.6 million dollars, saying the area would be used for corn milling.
  • In 2019, Chinese consumers comprised 25% of all foreign interest in U.S. residential real estate.
  • Sun Guangxin, a Chinese billionaire with connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), purchased Texas land near Laughlin air force base, with the supposed intention of creating a wind farm.
  • The desire was quickly laid to rest after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act prohibiting specific countries from accessing state infrastructures, such as the power grid, water facilities, and communication networks.
  • A Chinese tech corporation, Huawei, purchased land in Montana near a nuclear arsenal.
  • An investigation was conducted in the area to determine whether Huawei towers were able to intercept communication from the U.S. military.
BACKGROUND:
  • With the increased acquisition of United States farmland, many surmise the CCP is seeking to leverage or control America’s agricultural system.
  • The rate of land being purchased by foreign countries surprised Democratic Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The Senate Intelligence Committee has been loudly sounding the alarm about the counterintelligence threat posed by [China],” he said.
  • Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill entitled Protecting Military Installations and Ranges Act of 2021 to “prohibit adversaries from acquiring land near military bases.”