Construction on a Chinese-owned North Dakota corn plant is likely to be halted after the U.S. Air Force warns it poses a “serious threat to national security.”
China’s Shandong-based manufacturer of MSG and xanthan gum, Fufeng Group, previously acquired 370 acres of farmland in Grand Forks through an American subsidiary.
Last year, the city council approved the company’s $700 million proposal to build a factory, citing its successful economic development.
Since then, however, thousands of residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the factory. In August 2022, at least 5,000 residents signed a petition to block the development of the factory.
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City officials initially supported the construction of the factory in hopes of creating jobs and tax revenue, but Mayor Brandon Bochenski said: statement He argued that the proposed factory “should be shut down.”
“The federal government is seeking the city’s help to halt the project as geopolitical tensions have increased significantly since the project’s initial announcement,” he said.
Bochenski said he would block construction by denying building permits and refusing to connect urban infrastructure to construction sites.
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Republican Senators John Hoven and Kevin Cramer shared a letter from the Air Force, saying, “The proposed project has both short and long-term implications that will have a material impact on our operations in the region. It carries risks and poses a grave threat to national security.”
The Air Force hasn’t mentioned a specific threat, but residents speculate that the corn mill could be used to spy on China.
But Fufeng USA Chief Operating Officer Eric Chutorash has since said: rejected Factories being used to spy on or harm the United States
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The corn mill was proposed to be built 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base, home to U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forces, including top-secret drone technology.
In a joint press release on Tuesday, Hoeven and Cramer called on city officials to “stop” the project and instead “work together to find an American company to develop the agricultural project.”
A member of the city council reportedly declared that it had not yet approved the project and said it was unaware of the company’s Chinese origins.
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The project’s reorientation comes at a time of growing suspicion about China and the long-standing trade ties between the United States and East Asian nations. Several states are reportedly considering restricting or restricting legislation. ban Chinese land ownership.
A final decision is expected to be made during a city council vote in the coming weeks.