Even as China’s activities in the United States are raising fears of the communist nation’s motives, Canadian officials are raising concerns over the planned purchase of an Arctic gold mine by a state-run Chinese company.
“This purchase should not go forward,” Richard Fadden, a former national security adviser to both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told The Wall Street Journal.
“They are clearly adversaries, and I think we have to take that into account every time they seek to buy something,” Fadden said.
Shandong Gold Mining Co. is trying to buy Toronto-based TMAC Resources Inc., which operates a mine on Canadian soil almost 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, The Journal reported Sunday.
The deal was approved by TMAC and has cleared all regulatory hurdles in China, but Canadian officials, who can reject the deal on the grounds of national security, have not yet added their stamp of approval, the report said.
China’s activity in Canada comes as voices are being raised in Texas in opposition to a proposed wind farm. Further, last week, the U.S. booted China from its Houston consulate and alleged that China has been using researchers affiliated with the military to gather American secrets.
Shandong is controlled by the Shandong Provincial Government in China. The company said the acquisition is simply good business.
“We are a commercially focused company that is well known to the Canadian mining industry,” Jack Yue, director of corporate development and global investment for Shandong, told The Journal. “The Canadian government will decide whether to approve this acquisition, but we see it as a straightforward gold-mining transaction.”
China’s aggression is global.
— Lance Gooden (@Lancegooden) July 26, 2020
Heather Conley, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said long-term control of the Arctic and the mining sector are both issues that need to be weighed.
“In an environment where there is such great distrust, it is more difficult to discern what is strategic or benign,” she told The Journal.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week warned that China is becoming a serious actor in the Arctic.
Noting that he visited Denmark to discuss the threat that “Chinese Communist Party poses to all freedom-loving nations,” Pompeo told reporters, “Even in the Arctic, China has fancied themselves as a near-Arctic nation.”
“We have a responsibility to get that right for each of our own sovereign security issues, but, more broadly, for our collective security across the Atlantic as well,” he said, according to a transcript of his comments on the State Department website.
Later, in an interview with a Danish broadcaster who asked about China’s activities in the Arctic, he said the U.S. had been “a little bit naive to watch not only the Russians but the Chinese interests there competing to become more and more aggressive.”
“We have a responsibility for our people to make sure that we respond in a way that is appropriate, to do everything we can to make sure that the environment there is taken care of, to make sure that this doesn’t become another place for battle. But if it’s chosen by our adversaries, if they choose to go compete there, we can’t just turn the other cheek,” Pompeo said, according to a State Department transcript.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said China is using its investments as a means of expanding its influence.
“We should recognize that, take it seriously, and make sure that our own focus and policies are up-to-date — lest we similarly cede control of vital resources to economic competitors whose environmental and labor safety regulations may fall short of our own,” she said, according to The Journal.
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