Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Donald Trump's idea of buying Greenland is ‘absurd’, says Danish PM

Greenland insists the semi-autonomous Danish territory is not for sale

Donald Trump said Greenland was strategically ‘interesting’. EPA
Donald Trump said Greenland was strategically ‘interesting’. EPA

Denmark’s prime minister says US President Donald Trump’s idea of buying Greenland from Denmark is “an absurd discussion,” reiterating that the semi-autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic is not for sale.

Mette Frederiksen, who was visiting the world’s largest island to meet its leader, Kim Kielsen, said: “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant.”

Ms Frederiksen said Sunday that the Arctic, with resources that Russia and others could exploit for commercial gain, “is becoming increasingly important to the entire world community.”

Mr Trump confirmed he discussed buying Greenland from Denmark with officials in his administration and compared such a move to a “large real estate deal” on Sunday.

There was a confused reaction to a Wall Street Journal report last Thursday that said the US President had been mulling buying Greenland in recent weeks.

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” Mr Trump told reporters on Sunday when asked about the idea. “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.”

The US military has for decades operated from Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The northernmost US base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.

“Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,” the president said.

Mr Trump made a fortune in the New York property market before getting into politics.

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million (Dh2.57 billion) a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss,” he said.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Greenland is “a strategic place” with “a lot of valuable minerals”.

Mr Trump is expected to visit Denmark in September as part of a trip to Europe.

Updated: August 19, 2019 04:00 PM