US to force China-linked firm to sell land near US missile silos

By Thomson Reuters May 13, 2024 | 4:19 PM

By Alexandra Alper and David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday gave a Chinese-linked company and its partners 120 days to sell property they had bought near a U.S. Air Force base in Wyoming that is home to part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, citing fears of spying.

The move comes as the United States has become increasingly concerned about the national security risks posed by Chinese-led purchases of American property near sensitive military sites.

MineOne Partners Limited, which is owned by Chinese nationals, partnered with other companies to buy real estate for cryptocurrency mining in June 2022, the White House said.

The property is located within 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) of Wyoming-based Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, which is home to part of the U.S. arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“The proximity of the foreign-owned Real Estate to a strategic missile base and key element of America’s nuclear triad, and the presence of specialized and foreign-sourced equipment potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities, presents a national security risk to the United States,” the White House said in a statement.

MineOne Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters reported in 2022 that the Biden administration was investigating Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei over concerns that U.S. cell towers fitted with its gear could capture sensitive information from military bases and missile silos that the company could then transmit to China.

The MineOne Partners deal was reviewed by CFIUS, a powerful panel led by the Treasury Department that scrutinizes foreign investment in the United States for national security risks.

A 2018 law expanded CFIUS’s authority to review foreign acquisitions of some non-controlling investments in U.S. real estate transactions that pose national security concerns.

The move on Monday “highlights the critical gatekeeper role that CFIUS serves to ensure that foreign investment does not undermine our national security, particularly as it relates to transactions that present risk to sensitive U.S. military installations as well as those involving specialized equipment and technologies,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Alexandra Alper; writing by Paul Grant; editing by Eric Beech, Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)