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Tasiilaq, Greenland
Image: Reuters/L. Jackson

Trump confirms interest in Greenland purchase

August 19, 2019

US President Donald Trump has confirmed his interest in buying Greenland from Denmark, saying the area was "strategically" interesting. Denmark and Greenland have repeatedly stressed the territory is not for sale.


US President Donald Trump on Sunday confirmed that his administration looked into the prospect of buying Greenland from Denmark, saying the area was "strategically" interesting.  

"It's something we talked about," Trump told reporters. "The concept came up and I said certainly, strategically it's interesting and we'd be interested, but we'll talk to (Denmark) a little bit," he said. But Trump said it was not a priority for his administration.

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

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump had expressed interest in the island and asked advisers if it would be possible for the US to acquire the territory.

The president, a former real estate magnate, has been curious about the area's natural resources and geopolitical relevance, the paper said. The US military has operated for decades from Thule Air Base in Greenland. The northern-most US base is part of the military's global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.

'Not for sale'

When asked if he would consider trading a US territory for Greenland, Trump replied that "a lot of things could be done."

"Essentially, it's a large real estate deal," he said. The US president's comments come after both Denmark and Greenland repeatedly stressed the territory is not for sale. 

"Greenland is not for sale," the Arctic territory's government said in response to the report last week. Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, speaking during a planned trip to Greenland, stressed the point again during her visit.

"Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I consistently hope that this is not seriously meant," Frederiksen told reporters when asked about the prospects for purchase, according to local daily Sermitsiaq.

"It's an absurd discussion, and Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale, and it ends now," she told Danish public broadcaster DR.

Map of Denmark and Greenland

Not the first time

Denmark colonized the 772,000 square-mile (2 million square kilometers) island in the 18th century. It is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.

The icy and frigid territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans is now mostly self-ruled, though Denmark remains in charge of foreign affairs, defense and monetary policy.

This is not the first time the US has expressed interest in buying Greenland. Washington wanted to buy the island before, but was rebuffed by Denmark.

sri/ng (dpa, AFP)

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