Trump Cancels Denmark Visit After Danes Say Greenland Not For Sale

US President Donald Trump Tuesday postponed a planned visit to Denmark after Danish officials insisted its autonomous territory of Greenland was not for sale.

Trump’s decision confirms just how interested he was in purchasing Greenland, an idea initially dismissed as a joke by some, but which the White House later insisted had a serious purpose because of its strategic location.

“Based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump tweeted.

During a Sunday visit to Greenland — the largest island on Earth — Frederiksen called Trump’s idea “absurd.”

“The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct,” Trump tweeted.

“I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”.

The development was “a surprise”, said Lene Balleby, the head of communications for the Danish Royal House, according to public broadcaster DR.

The president’s latest Greenland comments sparked a strong reaction from both sides of the political aisle in Denmark.

“Reality transcends imagination… this man is unpredictable,” said Morten Ostergaard of the Social Liberal Party, which is part of the ruling coalition.

“For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for,” tweeted Rasmus Jarlov, a member of the opposition Conservative Party.

“Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect.”

 ‘A large real estate deal’

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice — asking advisors 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.

Trump confirmed his interest on Sunday, but said it was not a priority for his administration and the Denmark trip was “not for this reason at all.”

“It’s something we talked about,” he told reporters.

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.”

The next day, Trump jokingly promised that he would not build one of his eponymous hotels in Greenland, tweeting a meme depicting the golden Trump International Hotel Las Vegas towering over modest, primary-colored houses along a rocky coast.

“I promise not to do this to Greenland!” he wrote.

The meme first appeared on Twitter Thursday with the caption: “Greenland in 10 years.”

Denmark colonized the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square-kilometer) island in the 18th century. It is home to around 57,000 people, most of the indigenous Inuit community.

Greenland’s ministry of foreign affairs insisted Friday the island was ready to talk business, but was 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,” it tweeted.

“We’re open for business, not for sale.”

AFP

Five Things To Know About Greenland

 

US President Donald Trump has confirmed he is keen to buy Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory rich in natural resources and of increasing geopolitical relevance as the Arctic ice sheet melts.

But Denmark, a NATO ally, swiftly retorted that the island, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is not for sale, prompting Trump to cancel a planned state visit.

Here are five things to know about Greenland.

Ice-covered ‘Green earth’

The name “Greenland” is misleading as the two million square kilometre island, the world’s largest island that is not a continent, has three quarters bordering the Arctic Ocean and is 85 percent covered in ice.

Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953, when it became part of the Danish Realm.

In 1979, it gained “autonomous territory” status. Today, the island’s economy depends heavily on subsidies from Copenhagen.

Its 55,000 inhabitants — of whom 17,000 reside in the capital Nuuk — are more than 90 percent Inuit, an indigenous group from Central Asia.

Global powers converge

Greenland has been essential to US defence since World War II, when it was a base for monitoring Nazi ships and submarines passing through the Arctic on their way to the north Atlantic.

In 1943, the US Air Force built its farthest-north air base at Thule, crucial during the Cold War as a first line of monitoring against a potential Russian attack.

With a population of 600, the base is today part of a NATO mission, operating satellite monitoring and strategic missile detection systems.

As the polar ice sheet melts, opening up potentially major shipping routes, other global powers have moved in.

Russia has become more active, and, while it has no geographical claim to the region, newcomer China has also begun to show interest in the region.

China’s massive commercial shipping industry would benefit from the new polar routes.

In January 2018, Beijing unveiled its “Polar Silk Road” strategy to extend its economic influence through the Arctic.

China began sending scientific missions to Greenland already in 2004, and a Chinese company has gained mining rights for rare earths.

Last year, a Chinese government-backed group also offered to build three new international airports in Greenland, sparking alarm in Copenhagen and Washington.

That plan was ultimately nixed, in exchange for Danish funding and a pledge of support from the Pentagon.

At the heart of global warming

This massive territory is on the front line of melting Arctic ice in a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, Greenland’s ocean levels continue to rise by about 3.3 millimetres per year.

This phenomenon appears to be accelerating: sea levels have jumped by 25 to 30 percent faster between 2004 and 2015, compared with the 1993-2004 period.

The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet accounts for 25 percent of this rise, up from five percent 20 years ago. And this is likely to increase as glaciers and ice caps melt.

If Greenland’s ice sheet was to disappear completely, it would raise the ocean level by seven metres (23 feet).

Rich soil

Nonetheless, Greenland’s melting ice has a silver lining.

The region has vast untapped reserves of oil, gas and minerals, as well as fish and shrimp stocks.

Greenland’s subsoil is rich in gold, rubies and uranium, as well as iron, aluminium, nickel, platinum, tungsten, titanium, and copper, which could attract foreign investment.

Under the melting glaciers lies mineral-rich rock flour that could be used, for example, as fertiliser for dry soils in Africa and South America.

However, this substance infuriates the Greenlanders as it shuts off access to the fjords.

Previous US interest

Trump’s bid for Greenland is not a first for the US.

In 1867, the State Department expressed interest in the island, and in 1946 President Harry S. Truman offered $100 million in gold, or parts of Alaska, in exchange for Greenland.

And you can’t blame Trump for trying — Denmark has previously sold territory to Washington.

In 1916, the Scandinavian country agreed to sell the Danish West Indies to the US for $25 million in gold, which then became the US Virgin Islands.

Trump Slams Danish PM’s ‘Nasty’ Rejection Of Greenland Deal

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC on June 26, 2019. Trump is traveling to Osaka, Japan, for the G20 Summit.
Anna-Rose GASSOT / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump snapped back Wednesday at Denmark’s premier in a row over his desire to buy Greenland, saying her blunt refusal to consider any negotiation was “nasty.”

Speaking after he scrapped plans to visit Copenhagen next month, Trump told reporters he had taken offence at Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s description of any such deal as “absurd.”

“It was not a nice way of doing it. She could have just said no, we’d rather not do it,” Trump said. “She’s not talking to me, she’s talking to the United States of America.”

AFP

Greenland: Danish PM Annoyed As Trump Postpones Visit

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen talks to the press after US President cancelled his state visit after her government said its territory Greenland was not for sale on August 21, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

 

Denmark’s prime minister said Wednesday she was “annoyed and surprised” that US President Donald Trump postponed a visit after her government said its territory Greenland was not for sale but insisted their ties remained strong.

“I am both annoyed and surprised that the US president has cancelled a state visit,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters.

But, she added, “Denmark and the US are not in crisis, the US is one of our closest allies.”

The Scandinavian country’s invitation to visit “remains open,” she said.

Trump had tweeted on Tuesday that “based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice.

The president, a former real estate magnate, has been curious about the area’s natural resources and geopolitical relevance, the paper said.

The proposal had sparked both indignation and amusement in Denmark.

Greenland’s foreign affairs ministry said the island was ready to talk business but was not for sale, while Frederiksen has described the idea as “absurd”.

Trump had been scheduled to visit Denmark on September 2 and 3.

Denmark Stunned As Trump Scraps Visit Over Greenland Snub

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen              President Donald Trump/ AFP

 

Denmark was left stunned Wednesday by Donald Trump’s decision to postpone a state visit after the government told the US president its autonomous territory Greenland was not for sale. 

The Danish Royal House expressed “surprise” at Trump’s cancellation while commentators accused Trump of acting like a “colonial overlord”.

“Based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct.”

His comments came two days after Frederiksen had rejected the president’s proposal to possibly buy Greenland as “absurd”.

The decision confirms just how interested he was in purchasing Greenland, an idea initially dismissed as a joke by some, but which the White House later insisted had a serious purpose because of its strategic location.

The territory has been essential to US defence since World War II.

Prime Minister Frederiksen was due to hold a press conference at 1300 GMT on Wednesday.

 ‘Show more respect’ 

The postponement has sparked strong reactions in Denmark.

“Reality transcends imagination… this man is unpredictable,” said Morten Ostergaard of the Social Liberal Party, which is part of the ruling coalition.

“For no reason, Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for,” tweeted Rasmus Jarlov, a member of the opposition Conservative Party.

“Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect.”

Marc Jacobsen, a Greenland specialist at the University of Copenhagen, said Trump was acting like “an ignorant colonial overlord”.

“Trump’s idea of purchasing Greenland is absurd, and it is absurd that he is now cancelling his state visit to Denmark when he knows that there is no chance Greenland will become the 51st state of America,” he told AFP.

Meanwhile, former US ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford wrote on Twitter: “He asks for an invitation from a great friend and ally. The Queen obliges invites him for a state visit. He declares the visit contingent on the great friend selling part of its territory to him This. Is. Not. Normal.”

Nonetheless, conservative daily Jyllands-Posten wrote that Trump’s actions ultimately benefitted Denmark, highlighting Greenland’s geopolitical value.

“Mette Frederiksen has been given the opportunity to emphasise that Greenland’s big affairs are in fact decided in Copenhagen… strengthening Denmark’s position in this great strategic game at stake over the Arctic,” it said.

 ‘A large real estate deal’ 

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice — asking advisors 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.

Asked on Sunday 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.”

Denmark colonised the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square-kilometre) island in the 18th century. It is home to around 57,000 people, most of them from the indigenous Inuit community.

Greenland’s foreign affairs ministry insisted Friday the island was ready to talk business but was not for sale.

The territory is home to the US airbase Thule, crucial during the Cold War as a first line of monitoring against a potential Russian attack.

But the melting polar ice sheet is opening up potentially major shipping routes, and untapped reserved of oil, gas and minerals will become increasingly accessible, leading Russia and China to show mounting interest in the region.

As far back as 1867, the State Department expressed interest in the island. And in 1946, President Harry S. Truman offered $100 million in gold, or parts of Alaska, in exchange for Greenland.

AFP

Why Trump Wants To Buy Greenland – Report

US President Donald Trump 

 

President Donald Trump is asking advisers if it is possible for the US to buy Greenland, according to a report.

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 US to acquire the territory, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The president 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 (two-million square kilometer) island in the 18th century, and is home to nearly 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.

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There was no official comment from the White House, and the Danish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.

Some Trump advisors say acquiring Greenland, which is northeast of Canada, could be good for the US, 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 US.

The US’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 percent of the island is covered by a 1.9-mile-thick (three-kilometer) ice sheet that contains 10 percent 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 US 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.

AFP

Greenland Ice Melts Four Times Faster In A Decade – Study

 

Greenland’s melting ice, which causes sea levels to rise, disappeared four times faster in 2013 than in 2003 and is noticeable across the Arctic island, not just on glaciers, researchers warned on Tuesday.

“While 111 cubic kilometres of ice disappeared per year in 2003, 10 years later this figure had almost quadrupled to 428 cubic kilometres,” the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Space Lab said in a statement.

Its researchers contributed to a study on changes to Greenland’s ice sheet, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“These are notable and surprising changes we are seeing in the ice melt pattern,” DTU professor Shfaqat Abbas Khan said.

Until now, most of Greenland’s ice melt was observed on the ice cap, predominantly on the glaciers in the island’s northwest and southeast.

But most of the ice loss from 2003 to 2013 was from Greenland’s southwest region, which is largely devoid of large glaciers.

Michael Bevis, a professor at Ohio State University and lead author of the PNAS paper, said the ice now appeared to be melting from the surface mass, “melting inland from the coastline.”

That means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean.

“We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers,” Bevis said.

“But now we recognise a second serious problem: Increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea.”

He warned this would have major implications, causing additional sea level rise.

“We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point,” he said, which would condemn the entire giant ice block to melting over a time scale of hundreds, or several thousand, years.

The Greenland ice sheet — up to three kilometres thick — contains enough frozen water to raise global sea levels some six metres (yards).

The melting ice observed in the study is caused by rising land temperatures, and in part, the fact that the ice comes into contact with waters that are increasingly warmer.

“As the atmosphere’s temperature gradually rises, we will immediately notice an acceleration of the ice melt,” Khan said.

While the amount varies from region to region, sea levels rose worldwide by an average of 20 centimetres (about eight inches) in the 20th century. They are currently rising by about 3.3 millimetres per year.