Is Trump Interested in Buying Greenland?

US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump. AFP

Vala Hafstað

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that US President Donald Trump has numerous times expressed interest in purchasing Greenland.

“In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some of Trump’s advisors have, the paper reports, supported the idea and described it as “a good economic play.” Greenland is viewed as important to American national security interests.

“People outside the White House have described purchasing Greenland as an Alaska-type acquisition for Mr. Trump’s legacy, advisers said,” the Wall Street Journal adds.

From Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.

From Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. mbl.is/Una Sighvatsdóttir

With an area of 2.166 million km2 (836,000 sq mi), Greenland is the world’s largest island. It is an autonomous Danish territory and has a population of 56,000. It has autonomy in domestic matters, while foreign issues are handled by Denmark.

Trump is not the first US president to show interest in purchasing Greenland. In 1946, when Harry Truman was president, the US offered to buy the island from Denmark for USD 100 million. But Denmark would not sell. Decades before, in 1867, the State Department launched an inquiry into buying not just Greenland, but Iceland, too.

The news of Trump’s interest in the purchase has caught great attention in Denmark. “This is not a joke,” reports Berlinske Tidende. “Behind the story is a reality, much uglier and more dangerous for Denmark and the people of Greenland than the article reveals,” it continues.

In an interview with Ritzau, Member of Parliament Søren Espersen describes the president’s idea as insane. “The thought that Denmark would sell 50,000 citizens to the US is completely crazy,” mbl.is reports.

“It must be and April Fool’s Day joke,” former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen stated on Twitter, but added it was out of season.

President Trump will be visiting Denmark in September. Whether Greenland will be on the agenda there remains to be seen.

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