A proposal mooted by US president Donald Trump to purchase Greenland has been rebuffed by the autonomous Danish territory.
Greenland said that it was not for sale, a day after Trump had reportedly discussed with his key advisers the prospect of buying the world’s biggest island. Greenland is an autonomous region of Denmark with only its foreign and security policy handled by Copenhagen.
“Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism,” Greenland’s Foreign Ministry posted on its Twitter account. “We’re open for business, not for sale.”
The arctic island with a population of 56,000 people, is believed to be rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold, uranium, oil, lead, zinc, and iron ore, which are becoming easier to access as the ice sheet that covers about 80 per cent of its land area continues to thin.
Greenland's geopolitical significance is also bolstered because of its location between North America and Europe.
Greenland premier Kim Kielsen issued a statement stating that Greenland is not for sale, but is open for trade and cooperation with other countries, including the US.
“It must be an April Fool’s Day joke,” tweeted Lars Lokke Rasmussen, former prime minister of Denmark.
Trump is said to be serious about his idea of purchasing Greenland from Denmark having broached about it more than once with aides.
“What do you guys think about that?” he asked a room of associates at a dinner last spring, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The US already operates an Air Force Base in Greenland, Thule Air Base, which was constructed in 1961 and sits about 750 miles above the Arctic Circle. A decades-old defence treaty between Denmark and the US gives the US military virtually unlimited rights to use of this base.
The base boasts of a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, which would detect and track intercontinental ballistic missiles launched at North America.
The US has been increasingly wary of China's gameplan for the Arctic region. It successfully persuaded Denmark last year to stall Chinese attempt to building three airports in Greenland. Beijing recently published a white paper on the Arctic, in which it publicly acknowledged that it views Greenland as a commercially lucrative hotspot.
After World War II, the US under President Harry Truman offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million. Denmark however refused to sell. Earlier the US President Andrew Johnson had signed a treaty to buy Alaska from Russia in 1867 which has now been integrated as a US state.
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