“We’re going to move on,” says press sec Karine Jean-Pierre.
Posted BY: Jamie White
White House National Security Council Strategic Comms Director John Kirby refused to explain why the Biden administration has been allowing Communist China to buy up large tracts of U.S. real estate near key military installations.
When asked Tuesday during a press briefing why Biden was ignoring the national security implications of allowing China, America’s greatest geopolitical adversary, to purchase U.S. land in key strategic areas at the expense of U.S. buyers, Kirby claimed he wasn’t equipped to answer the question.
“I think the question of home ownership is a little bit out of my swim lane,” Kirby responded. “What I will tell you is that the president has been, uh, nothing but clear about our concerns about Chinese unfair trade practices and economic practices.”
When further pressed about China aggressively buying up U.S. farmland and real estate near military bases, Kirby obfuscated the issue by framing it as a “home ownership” situation rather than a national security concern.
“I’m probably not the right person to ask about home ownership here in the United States,” he said.
The reporter pushed back again, clarifying, “This isn’t about home ownership. This is about buying up land around military installations…”
At that point Kirby signaled press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to come to his rescue by dismissing the question altogether.
“We can get back to you after. We’re going to move on,” Jean-Pierre told the reporter.
Buyers from the People’s Republic of China purchased $6.1 billion in U.S. real estate in 2021, the most of any foreign buyer.
Earlier this summer, the Fufeng Group, a massive agricultural company tied to the Chinese government, bought 300 acres of farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota, just down the road from a military base that houses sensitive drone technology.
Experts noted that China’s strategic buy-ups of U.S. real estate could have grave national security implications:
From the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
Revelations from a groundbreaking exclusive CNN story published on July 23 about telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei installed in rural America suggest that Chinese land purchases could pose a severe national security threat as well.
CNN chronicles the Chinese government’s more than decade-long effort to establish a massive electronic intelligence and jamming capability in the U.S. adjacent to military installations and in Washington, D.C. Such a system could deliver a crippling electronic Pearl Harbor against American nuclear weapons systems and strategic communications vital to deterring and defeating a military surprise attack.
More alarmingly, the true extent of China’s mass buy-ups of U.S. land is not even fully understood thanks to government ineptitude and lack of transparency laws.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Government transparency on these investments falls short of basic standards. Until a few months ago, USDA’s online reports went back only as far as 2004 and the data required special software to extract. Information on older purchases could be obtained only through Freedom of Information Act requests. Officials have admitted that they don’t review filings related to foreign purchases of American farmland, and the data on such transactions contain errors.
It’s unclear why Kirby was unwilling to provide any insight on this clear national security concern given his role in the National Security Council, but his effort to downplay China’s actions by calling the matter a “home ownership” issue suggests a broader dishonesty within the Biden administration.
Watch the full WH press briefing: