News ID: 257371
Published: 0205 GMT August 16, 2019

Greenland tells Trump it is open for business but not for sale

Greenland tells Trump it is open for business but not for sale
REUTERS

Greenland on Friday dismissed the notion that it might be up for sale after reports that US President Donald Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying the world’s biggest island.

“We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,” Greenland’s Foreign Minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters.

Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, Reuters reported.

Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that the notion had been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House.

Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the idea.

“It has to be an April Fool’s joke. Totally out of season,” former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter.

“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.

“The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous,” he said.

Greenland, a self-ruling part of Denmark located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependent on Danish economic support. It handles its own domestic affairs while Copenhagen looks after defense and foreign policy.

“I am sure a majority in Greenland believes it is better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long term,” Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Danish MP from Greenland’s second-largest party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), said.

“My immediate thought is ‘No, thank you’,” she said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod were not available for comment. The US Embassy in Copenhagen was also not immediately available for comment.

“Oh dear lord. As someone who loves Greenland, has been there nine times to every corner and loves the people, this is a complete and total catastrophe,” former US ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, said in on Twitter.

Greenland is gaining attention from global super powers including China, Russia and the United States due to its strategic location and its mineral resources.

In May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia was behaving aggressively in the Arctic and China’s actions there had to be watched closely as well.

A defense treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the US military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland.

There has been no indication that a Greenland purchase will be on the agenda for Trump’s talks with Danish officials.

In 1917 Denmark sold off the then Danish West Indies islands for $25 million to the United States, which renamed them the United States Virgin Islands.

 

 

 

 

   
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