May 22, 2024
Biden orders Chinese miner to divest land near US
People in Crypto

Biden Orders Chinese Crypto Miner to Sell Near US Base

President Joe Biden has issued a directive compelling a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining company to divest its land near a critical U.S. nuclear missile base in Wyoming. The move, announced on Monday, was made on national security grounds.

National Security Concerns Over the Chinese Miner

The company in question, MineOne, had purchased the real estate in June 2022, locating its operations dangerously close to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, a vital part of America’s nuclear defense infrastructure. According to the White House, this move raised concerns about potential security risks due to the company’s equipment and ownership structure. Biden emphasized that there was “credible evidence” suggesting actions that could jeopardize U.S. national security.

The presidential order mandates MineOne to sell the land within 120 days and to dismantle specific equipment and improvements on the property. Despite CNBC’s request for comment, the company has not responded as of yet.

Context of U.S.-China Relations

This decision reflects broader tensions between the U.S. and Chinese entities. Prior to this order, Biden had signed legislation compelling the separation of TikTok from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, also citing national security concerns. Additionally, recent tariffs imposed by the Biden administration on Chinese imports underscore a broader pattern of economic scrutiny amid geopolitical tensions.

CFIUS Investigation and National Security Oversight

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a Treasury Department-led agency responsible for evaluating foreign investments for national security risks, conducted an inquiry into MineOne’s activities. A 2018 law empowered CFIUS to scrutinize property deals near sensitive U.S. installations, including the Wyoming airbase. Biden’s executive order last September further expanded the committee’s mandate to assess additional national security factors in such evaluations.

The White House order revealed that MineOne failed to report its property purchase to CFIUS until prompted by a public tip following an ongoing investigation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted the role of CFIUS in safeguarding national security against potentially problematic foreign investments.

Image by Barbara from Pixabay

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