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Greenland tells Trump: 'We're not for sale'

August 16, 2019

The government of Greenland says its territory is not for sale following reports that US President Donald Trump was looking into purchasing the massive, ice-covered island.

Upernavik in West Greenland
Image: imago/Siering

Greenland's government on Friday dismissed the idea of being purchased by the United States.

The statement follows reports that US President Donald Trump was interested in buying the territory from Denmark.

What the government said:

A "short comment" on the government website said that:

  • "We have a good cooperation with the USA, and we see it as an expression of greater interest in investing in our country..."
  • "...Of course, Greenland is not for sale,"
  • "Because of the unofficial nature of the news, the Government of Greenland has no further comments."

Trump asks aides to 'look into the idea'

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Trump asked his aides to look into the possibility of purchasing Greenland. The US leader is poised to visit the Danish capital Copenhagen in September. A source close to the president later told The Associated Press that Trump did make the request but that he wasn't serious.

Greenland's ministry of foreign affairs insisted the island was ready to talk business, but was not for sale. "#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," it tweeted. "We're open for business, not for sale."

Where is Greenland? The world's largest island is home to just 57,000 — mostly Inuit — people. It lies between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. It is an autonomous Danish territory, with Copenhagen in charge of foreign affairs, defense and monetary policy. 

Map depicting Greenland, USA, Denmark

Why buy Greenland? Greenland is an autonomous country that forms part of Denmark. Some 80% of the country is covered by a permanent ice sheet. The island has snagged the attention of global superpowers like the US, China and Russia due to its mineral resources and strategic location in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Not the first time: This wouldn't be the first time that the US tried to buy Greenland. In 1946, the US offered to pay $100 million to Denmark to buy Greenland after considering swapping portions of Alaska for portions of the Arctic island.

Arctic melt: the race for resources

rs/rt (dpa, AP)

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