Hennen: New threats from the proposed Chinese investment in Grand Forks

The time has come for a hard stop

Scott Hennen.jpg
Columnist Scott Hennen
We are part of The Trust Project.

Should we be OK with a new Chinese investment in North Dakota? For some odd reason, that question isn't easy to answer for some politicians, over-eager economic developers or corn growers. It's easy for me. No. Hard stop. Not a chance.

I've watched this story very closely since the city of Grand Forks was tossed into a firestorm. After months of speculation and anonymity, the city learned that it was selected to receive a new Chinese-owned corn milling plant. That's when the storm began.

On one side were eager corn growers. Who can blame them for wanting an opportunity to have more competition for their corn? But at what cost?

On another side were civic leaders who saw a huge investment in their city. But at what cost? And the cheerleader globalist types that pretend we have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Or do we?

It should be obvious to anyone watching that FuFeng, a company with strong ties to the Communist Chinese Party, should not be allowed to proceed with ownership in this location. To the credit of Mayor Brandon Bochenski, City Administrator Todd Feland and other civic leaders, they have engaged in a process that requires the project to meet a set of standards. That includes withstanding national security scrutiny. Here are just a few of the recent "deal-breakers" that should call an end to this nightmare;


  • The Grand Forks Air Force Base has been assigned a new ISR mission, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. The all-new Space Force Command has a presence here. The Commander of the GFAFB said there were three reasons this new mission was necessary: China, China, and China. I have been told by credible sources that the ISR mission will move elsewhere if FuFeng is allowed to build this plant. I have been told major defense contractors operating at the base have similar concerns. Why would our new Space Force think it's ok to have their No. 1 target a few miles down the road? This should not be a difficult decision.
  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was recently threatened openly by the Chinese government because of a planned trip to Taiwan. We are in a whole new world as it pertains to U.S.-Chinese relations. This is no time to look the other way.
  • U.S. Air Force Major Jeremy Fox wrote in a recent memo: “Some of the most sensitive elements of Grand Forks exist with the digital uplinks and downlinks inherent with unmanned air systems and their interaction with space-based assets,” he wrote. And any such data collection “would present a costly national security risk causing grave damage to the United States’ strategic advantages.” “Passive collection of those signals would be undetectable, as the requirements to do so would merely require ordinary antennas tuned to the right collecting frequencies,” he continued. “This introduces a grave vulnerability to our Department of Defense installations and is incredibly compromising to US National Security.” Let those words soak in. Wow.

Global trade is one thing. National security is completely different. This project causes a grave threat to America and to the future mission of a base that protects us.
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

End the East-West divide

Opinion by Scott Hennen
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at

What to read next
I'm just not seeing a constituency of North Dakota voters that Mund could appeal to that's large enough to lead her to victory. But, again, that's assuming that she's running to win, and not as a way to keep her celebrity alive post-Miss America.
On this week’s Eatbeat there’s been a late summer stop at RBJ's Restaurant in Crookston and supper at Sky’s in Grand Forks.
"An 80 mph wind ripped through our farmstead near Larimore, North Dakota, toppling trees, some of which landed in inopportune places."
This summer has produced enough apocalyptic weather to concentrate the mind on the ugly realities of a warming planet.