Agencies: The ‘lord’ of the greenbacks is eyeing Greenland, according to a report. US President Donald Trump is asking advisers if it is possible for the US to buy Greenland.
Once a real estate mogul, always a real estate mogul, it would seem. Or possibly, he is looking to build bridges with Inuits other than those from Alaska.
However, Greenland has responded with an icy ‘no, thanks’ but has declared it is open to doing business with the US, among others. Unlike the famous vacillating Dane immortalised by Shakespeare (Hamlet), the islanders want to be, and left just the way they are for now.
Reacting to reports about Trump’s plan, the Greenland government said in a statement: “Greenland is not for sale, and can’t be sold, but is ready for negotiations to enter collaborations with other countries, including the US.”
This latest expression of interest is the third of its kind. In 1867, too, the US had made inquiries about buying Greenland and Iceland, and then in 1946 when President Harry Truman offered $100 million for the island, following the establishment of the Thule Air Base, only to be turned down by the Danes again.
Greenland has limited self-government and its own Parliament. Denmark colonised the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square kilometres) island in the 18th century, which is home to nearly 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.
It depends on the government in Copenhagen for foreign affairs and national security. “It’s a ‘no thanks’ from here,” said Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, an MP from the Inuit Ataqatigiit party, Greenland's second largest.
She said her homeland “was not a commodity that could just be sold” and that it was “tremendously uncomfortable to hear it discussed in such terms”.
The Berlingske newspaper quoted Larsen as saying that it would be better all round for Greenland to stay with Denmark and eventually be granted full independence.
Asked if she did not find it flattering that Trump found Greenland attractive, she said: “It is Greenland’s geostrategic location that Trump is interested in. Not the country itself, or Greenlanders. So no, - it’s not flattering.”
Similar comments were made by other politicians in Greenland and Denmark. “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke...but totally out of (season)!” tweeted Denmark’s former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
Trump has been curious about the area’s natural resources -- such as coal, zinc, copper and iron ore and its strategic geopolitical positioning.
“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” foreign affairs spokesman for the populist Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, told national broadcaster DR. “The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous.”
According to reports, Trump is planning to make his first formal visit to Denmark on September 2. He will meet the country's new Socialist Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen - who herself will make her first official visit to Greenland next week.