STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) — Greenland is not for sale, the mineral-rich island said Friday, after a newspaper reported that U.S. President Donald Trump was asking advisers whether it’s possible for the United States to buy the Arctic island.
Trump has expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice — asking advisors if it is possible for the U.S. to acquire the territory, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing people familiar with the discussions.
The president, a former real estate magnate, has been curious about the area’s natural resources and geopolitical relevance, the paper reported.
Greenland is a self-governing region of Denmark, which colonized the 772,000 square-mile island in the 18th century, and is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.
There has been no official comment from the White House, and the Danish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.
But Greenland’s ministry of foreign affairs insisted the island was ready to talk business, not purchase.
“#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,” it added.
The office of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
But a former premier, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, tweeted: “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke… but totally out of season!”
Some Trump advisors say acquiring Greenland, which is northeast of Canada, could be good for the U.S., while others called it only a “fleeting fascination” from the president, The Wall Street Journal said.
Others outside the White House say Trump’s interest could be a desire to secure a legacy achievement, the paper reported, and advisors wondered about the potential for research or greater military clout for the U.S.
World’s largest island
The U.S.’s northern-most military base, Thule Air Base, has been located on Greenland for decades.
But Greenland doesn’t quite live up to its lush name — 85% of the island is covered by a 1.9-mile-thick ice sheet that contains 10% of the world’s fresh water.
The world’s largest island has suffered from climate change, scientists say, becoming a giant melting icicle that threatens to submerge the world’s coastal areas one day.
July saw unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet, with 12 billion tonnes of ice flowing into the sea.
Trump, who in 2017 withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement to cap global warming levels, is reportedly set to visit Copenhagen in September.
This isn’t the first time the president has expressed interest in foreign properties — he has said North Korea’s “great beaches” would make ideal locations for condos.
© Agence France-Presse