NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — State and national leaders say they’re concerned about the threat from China. 

It’s a warning Governor Doug Burgum continues to share on the presidential campaign trail. And state lawmakers have also drafted laws to curb foreign adversaries from buying up land in North Dakota.

As we previously reported, in the beginning, Governor Burgum initially supported the Fufeng project just miles outside of the Grand Forks Air Force Base. But others, like Senator Cramer, were strongly against a Chinese-owned entity owning land in North Dakota.

It took Burgum some time before he eventually went against it. But now in his campaign for presidency, he’s tough on China, some say very tough.

“We are in a cold war with China,” said Burgum. 

But is this pillar of his platform disingenuous? Senator David Hogue does not think so.

“No, I don’t. I think if you, if you listen carefully to what he’s saying, he’s saying we and, and I agree we can’t have too much dependence on China. They’re a major, major trading partner of the United States. They’re our biggest. And again, if you look at just North Dakota, so this soybean industry has been emerging for, you know, at least a decade,” said Hogue. 

Each year, Senator Hogue says North Dakota produces around 195 million to 200 million bushels of soybeans.

He says our farmers produce this crop because of the revenue it generates, and a large portion of that revenue does come from China.

“And where does 70% of those soybeans go, they go over to China, they’re not crushed, they’re not processed, they’re put on rail cars, they’re sent out to the Pacific Northwest and they’re sent over to China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and so we have that dependence on them for a major commodity that we produce,” said Hogue. 

He says some people and pundits are interpreting the governor’s language incorrectly.

“I think what the governor is saying is we do not want to foster, or over reliance on them for anything, whether it’s rare earth minerals, commodities like soybeans or pharmaceuticals, which we know from COVID that we over-rely on them to produce our pharmaceutical drugs. So, I think, the message is, and I think that’s probably one of the reasons why he supports, you know, like the Castleton and our congressional delegation, the Castleton soybean Crushing Facility, the Spirit Wood crushing facility, is they allow us to take our raw materials, soybeans which we are now producing in vast quantities and, add value to them right here in North Dakota, make, oil with them and that’s a good thing,” said Hogue. 

Hogue says in reality, our economies are too intertwined, so to say they are our enemy is just simplistic thinking.