WASHINGTON (TND) — China is buying up American farmlands, raising some national security concerns.
A pair of U.S. senators are introducing a new bill to stop Chinese investors from purchasing U.S. farmland, claiming the investments are putting the nation’s food security at risk and providing opportunities for Chinese espionage.
It may sound like something from a spy novel but geopolitical analyst Brandon Weichert says it's straight out of China's playbook.
"The Chinese do not come at an adversary as large and powerful as the United States directly. They will usually find sideways route,” Weichert said.
That route may run straight through U.S. farms.
“We have the Chinese party doing some strange things with land in the U.S. For instance, in Oklahoma, Chinese companies and individuals are buying land and they are leaving it fallow taking it out of our food cycle,” said Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture claims that China holds more than 352,000 acres of American land.
“We can't own Chinese land so why are they allowed to own American land,” Chang said.
The latest deal under scrutiny involves Fufeng USA, an American subsidiary of a Chinese company. It recently acquired 300 acres in North Dakota located roughly 20 minutes from an air force base, raising national security concerns in Washington.
“It is where we test our advanced drone fleets that have not hit the market yet,” Weichert said.
The Fufeng Group USA claims the company has no Chinese government ownership and all workers in the plant will be Americans.
Regardless, Chang says Chinese companies should be banned from buying American land.
“There is the issue of taking land out of our food supply which in a time of scarcity will be important. Also, the issue of land for illegal purposes, plus the purchases near sensitive Air Force facilities,” Chang said.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who introduced the bill to stop Chinese ownership of farmland, says 14 states already have some level of restriction on foreign ownership of land.