General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a major U.S.-based drone maker, recently said it “strongly opposes” a new Chinese agricultural project near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.
The company, which built the Predator drone and has a significant presence near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, has called on the US government to halt Fufeng Group’s plans to build a corn milling plant in large scale on 370 acres in Grand Forks.
The company expresses serious concerns about significant threats to the national security of the United States.
The company said the privacy of new weapons would be compromised if General Atomics used local airspace to “conduct significant test and evaluation efforts related to unmanned aircraft, radar systems and other military technologies.” advanced”.
General Atomics Aircraft Systems
“The efforts of Chinese companies are inextricably linked to the efforts of the Chinese government,” said General Atomics spokesman C Mark Brinkley. “We cannot ignore the opportunity for sophisticated military espionage to be found within a Chinese enterprise of such scale and scope,” he said.
He added that U.S. policymakers should be very concerned, given the proximity to crucial national airspace and sensitive military operations in and around Grand Forks Air Force Base.
General Atomics said it has operated in the Grand Forks area for more than a decade and uses a 20-acre site for worldwide training of US and allied military troops using its technology.
“We understand the significant economic opportunities this proposed agricultural project represents for the people of Grand Forks and the state of North Dakota,” Brinkley said. “But no amount of insurance on the part of the company can ever compensate for the enormous risk introduced.”
Concerns about the Chinese project
For months, the Chinese project has been debated. The Fufeng Group’s $700 million project is set to be built near a US Air Force facility, fueling speculation of potential espionage.
Fufeng manufactures items for the Oil & Gas, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Health & Wellness and other industries. It is a major manufacturer of xanthan gum.
Recently, it was reported that the Chinese company’s project is currently being reviewed by federal authorities, who say they need more information to determine if it could harm national security. Reports indicated that it could take up to three months to complete the review.
The Foreign Investment Committee sent a letter to Fufeng saying the data provided was “insufficient”. The company said it had been “open and cooperative” with US government officials and would respect their request for additional information.
Previously, a senior Air Force commander issued a memo in April warning that the Fufeng Group’s presence in Grand Forks posed a threat to national security.
Major Jeremy Fox says the Chinese project is part of a pattern of China’s covert espionage activities that target Department of Defense sites infringing on business and economic development programs.
He suggested that because the Fufeng project is located in such a small geographical area, passive receiving devices could be used to eavesdrop on covert communications made and received by drones and spacecraft traveling to and from the facility.
Grand Forks Air Force Base – Wikipedia
Fox said the digital uplinks and downlinks provided with unmanned aerial systems and their interaction with space assets are among the most sensitive aspects of Grand Forks.
Moreover, data collection would pose a costly national security risk, seriously compromising US strategic advantages. Meanwhile, the US Air Force has not officially announced its position on the Chinese project in North Dakota.
However, Fox is not the only one affected by the Chinese project in Grand Forks. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission mentioned Fox’s intelligence concerns in a May 26 report. She noted that, among other security concerns, the location of the field relative to the base allows her to observe incoming and outgoing air traffic flows. .
The report does not accuse Fufeng of wrongdoing and does not appear to reveal any new, previously unknown issues regarding the company. Nonetheless, it represents one of the most notable concerns about the project since it was announced last year.
Meanwhile, many people point out how beneficial the Fufeng Group is to North Dakota’s economy. Governor Doug Burgum said the project would benefit North Dakota in terms of jobs, facilities, economic activity and tax dollars.
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