MINOT, N.D. — If there’s anything we can learn from the controversy over a Chinese-owned wet corn milling plant to be built near Grand Forks, and near the Grand Forks Air Force Base, is that we need a more rigorous process for this sort of thing that is beyond the scope of local and even state government.
The public has voiced concerns over Fufeng, the company trying to build the facility, and its ties to the communist regime in China.
Can we be assured that Fufeng doesn’t used forced labor?
Given the proposed facility’s proximity to the Grand Forks Air Force Base, can we be assured that spying isn’t part of the intent in building it?
Our federal government has been silent about these concerns, leaving state and local government, which have no capacity to evaluate national security concerns, caught out over a barrel .
On one hand, Gov. Doug Burgum, as well as local officials such as Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, are right when they say a facility like this would be good for our state. It would “improve the price North Dakota farmers receive for their corn,” as Burgum pointed out in a recent letter to Biden administration officials backing a proposed federal review of the project.
On the other, the threat of Chinese spying is very real. It’s not some red scare fever dream, though that’s how some Fufeng supporters have tried to paint it.
There’s no question that China has dramatically escalated its espionage on U.S. soil over the last decade .