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Joe Biden orders Chinese crypto miner to sell land near US military base

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The White House has ordered a Chinese group that runs a crypto-mining operation in Wyoming to sell the land where it keeps its servers because the facility is next to a base housing U.S. nuclear ballistic missiles.

President Joe Biden has ordered MineOne Partners and its partners to sell the land next to Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming within 120 days. He said the British Virgin Islands group was majority-owned by Chinese nationals and had not informed the U.S. government of the sensitive transaction.

The US military deploys Minuteman III intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles at the Warren base in southeastern Wyoming. In the divestiture order issued Monday, Biden said MineOne used specialized equipment for cryptocurrency mining that included foreign-sourced technology, posing a national security risk.

“The proximity of foreign real estate to a strategic missile base and key element of the American nuclear triad, as well as the presence of specialized equipment of foreign origin potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities, presents a risk to the national security of the United States. “Biden said in the order.

The move comes amid growing concerns in Congress that Chinese groups are buying up agricultural and other land across the United States, particularly near military installations. It also comes a year after a US warplane shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the US east coast. The balloon had flown over a nuclear missile facility in Montana during a flight lasting more than a week over North America.

“This is a decades-long conflict between Chinese investors and the security community,” said Ivan Schlager, a national security law expert at Kirkland and Ellis, adding that there were similar cases across the United States. “Is this a serendipitous investment opportunity or something more strategic?

The Chinese embassy in Washington said it was not aware of the matter, but Liu Pengyu, its spokesman, said: “Exaggerating the concept of national security and politicizing economic, trade and security issues The investment goes against the principles of the market economy and the rules of international trade. , in addition to undermining international confidence in the US market environment.

The White House said MineOne purchased the land in June 2022 without informing the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, the interagency committee that reviews deals for security reasons.

Cfius began investigating the deal after receiving information from the public. Biden ordered a divestiture after the panel concluded it was not possible to reach a mitigation deal to address security concerns.

The presidential decree requires MineOne to remove its equipment from the field within 90 days. He also immediately banned the group and its partners from accessing the premises – except to move the equipment – ​​until Cfius was satisfied that all the equipment was gone.

This case is the latest example of tensions between the United States and China over national security issues. This comes as the two countries continue efforts to stabilize relations which hit rock bottom last year.

But U.S. officials have repeatedly emphasized that the Biden administration will not hesitate to take punitive action in cases where they believe China or Chinese companies pose a threat to national security.

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