According to the Wall Street Journal, the US president has “expressed interest” in buying Greenland from Denmark.
President Donald Trump has on multiple occasions brought up buying Greenland from the Danish government and the White House counsel's office has looked into the possibility, two sources told CNN on Thursday.
Donald Trump is visiting Denmark in September, as High North News reported last week.
Home to the US military's northernmost base
Greenland is home to Thule Air Base, the US military's northernmost base. The radar and listening post features a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System that can warn of incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles and reaches thousands of miles into Russian territory.
The world's largest island also boats promising mineral deposits and rich fisheries. Mr Trump’s interest may have as much to do with minerals as with geopolitics. Investors in Greenland have requested permits to open rare-earth and uranium mines that would be among the largest in the world. Other resources include diamonds and gold, and possible oil and gas fields in the country’s forbidding north, The Economist reports.
But the isolated population requires large annual subsidies. Denmark pays between one- and two-thirds of the island’s budget.
Not for sale
Victoria Herrmann, president and managing director of the Arctic Institute think tank, said to The Washington Post via email: “If the United States is truly interested in increasing economic cooperation with Greenland, the administration should do some summer reading on its history and bring its requests to Nuuk — not Copenhagen.”
“We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,” Greenland’s foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters.
According to the Journal, one person described a dinner last spring where Trump told associates he had been advised to look into buying Greenland because Denmark faced financial trouble from supporting the territory.
I would not be the first american attempt to buy Greenland. Efforts have been made both in 1867 and 1946, writes CNN.
Neither the White House, the Royal House in Denmark nor the Danish Embassy in Washington have answered the newspaper's inquiries.
Twitter in chock
Twitter is on fire after the news broke.
"Oh my God. For someone who loves Greenland and has visited the island nine times, every single corner and loves the population, this is a complete and total disaster”, former US ambassador to Denmark, Democrat Rufus Gifford comments.
Former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweets: "It must be an April Fool’s Day joke ... but totally out of sesson!"
"I’m too stunned to consider what this means from an int law, geopolitical, economic, or any other standpoint", writes Max McGrath-Horn.
"It means nothing. I hate that we give him this power. Can’t imagine how angry Greenlanders will feel about the dismissiveness coming from US commentators, as though they either don’t exist or don’t have agency", argues Heather Exner-Pirot.
New Arctic Strategy
Iceland's former President and leader of the board of the gathering "Arctic Circle", Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, tweets that he sees this at part of the president's new Arctic strategy.
"The 4 pillars of President’s @realDonaldTrump new #ArcticAction plan: The historic speech by @SecPompeo @VP Pence Arctic Dialogue in #Iceland; @realDonaldTrump meets PM of #Greenland; Energy @SecretaryPerry at @_Arctic_Circle Assembly."
VP Confirms visit to Iceland
"Look forward to traveling overseas with @SecondLady in September on behalf of @POTUS. On Sept 4, we will visit Iceland where I will meet with @PresidentISL & Foreign Minister @GudlaugurThor on expanding trade & investment opportunities & enhancing security in the Arctic region"