US president Donald Trump is interested in buying the country of Greenland, according to a new report.
The move, which would see the US acquire the island — the world’s largest — from Denmark, has been floated repeatedly by Trump in meetings, dinners, and passing conversations, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.
The White House administration and authorities in Denmark did not comment on the WSJ’s report and Yahoo Finance UK has not verified the content from the newspaper.
Greenland, which sits between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is a largely autonomous, ice-covered territory of Denmark that is both rich in resources and considered to be of significant geopolitical importance.
Though the Wall Street Journal describes the idea of buying Greenland as something that has captured the president’s imagination, it is not clear how the US would go about making such a purchase.
Some of his advisers support the concept, believing it to make economic sense, according to two unnamed sources who spoke to the newspaper. Others have dismissed it “as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition,” the paper said.
Greenland, which has a population of just 56,000, serves as the location for the US military’s most northern base. Thule Air Base, which is just 1,524 km from the North Pole, was opened during the second world war to offer Danish colonies protection from Germany.
US officials thus have considered Greenland to be important to their country’s national security interests, and have worked to make sure that China does not acquire an economic stake in the country.
During the Cold War, the US reportedly placed up to 600 nuclear-armed missiles in underground tunnels near the base.
After the second world war, then-president Harry Truman offered to buy Greenland for $100m (£83m) — a move that was rebuffed. The US State Department had floated the idea of buying both Greenland and Iceland as far back as 1867.
The country has significant natural resources, but 60% of its annual budget — or $591m (£490m) — comes in the form of a subvention by the Danish government.
Trump is due to visit Denmark next month, but it is not clear if the idea of purchasing Greenland will be on the agenda.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Greenland published a humorous tweet that “we’re open for business, 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. We're open for business, not for sale❄️🗻🐳🦐🇬🇱 learn more about Greenland on: https://t.co/WulOi3beIC
— Greenland MFA 🇬🇱 (@GreenlandMFA) August 16, 2019