President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese company from buying four wind farm projects in northern Oregon because he said it risks national security. The wind farms are located near a Navy base where US military flies unmanned drones and other planes on training missions.
By blocking the deal, President Obama because the first president in 22 years that has blocked a foreign business deal in American soil. His decision could spark more tension for the economic relationship between the United States and China.
Obama’s decision also came during an election year. His Republican rival Mitt Romney has accused the president of not being tough enough with China. President Obama ordered Ralls Corp, which is a company owned by Chinese nationals, to divest its interest in the wind farms it purchased earlier this year.
The case was brought to the president’s attention by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States or CFIUS. It determined that there was no other way to address the national security risks posed by the Chinese company’s purchases. The president is the only one who can stop such transaction.
White House didn’t specify what the risks the wind farm purchases could have to the nation. The Treasury Department said that CFIUS made its suggestion to President Obama after getting an analysis of the potential threats from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The military said that it used the Oregon Naval base as a testing ground for unmanned drones and the EA-18G Growler, which is an electronic warfare aircraft that joins fighter bombers on missions. It has the capability to jam enemy radar and destroy their targets with missiles. At the Oregon base, the planes fly at low altitudes of 200 feet and with speed of almost 300 miles per hour.
The last president who used the law to block a transaction was President George H.W. Bush in 1990. He voided the sale of Mamco Manufacturing to a Chinese company.