President Donald Trump has reportedly floated on multiple occasions the idea of the United States acquiring the world’s largest island, Greenland.
Greenland — with a landmass of approximately 836,000 square miles — is an autonomous territory of Denmark located to the east of Canada, between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
“In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Greenland has a population of about 56,000.
As noted by The New Yorker, the vast majority of people are Inuit natives (close to 90 percent), with nearly a third of the people — 17,000 — living in the capital of Nuuk on the southwest coast of the island.
The second largest town of Sisimiut, located 200 miles up the coast to the north, has a population of around 6,000.
The U.S. maintains Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is located 750 miles above the Arctic Circle.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the base includes a radar station that is part of the U.S. ballistic early warning system.
The facility is also used by U.S. Air Force Space Command.
With 3D Globe Mode on Google Maps desktop, Greenland’s projection is no longer the size of Africa.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) August 2, 2018
One possible motivator for acquiring Greenland is China’s interest in it.
The Trump administration worked successfully to block Beijing from financing three airports in the Danish territory last year, The Journal reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was slated to visit Greenland in May, but postponed the trip due to rising tensions with Iran during that time period.
“We look forward to rescheduling the Secretary’s visit at a time convenient for Greenland, Denmark, and the United States,” the State Department said in a news release at the time.
“Secretary Pompeo is pleased to announce that the United States intends, after six decades, to reestablish a permanent Department of State presence in Greenland, and we will work together with Congress and Denmark to make this happen as soon as possible.”
Copenhagen subsidizes $591 million to Greeland annually, which makes up about 60 percent of the country’s annual budget.
Trump is scheduled to travel to Denmark in early September, but the trip is unrelated to a possible acquisition of Greenland.
Though Denmark, a NATO ally, turned the offer down, it did sign a defense treaty in 1951 allowing the U.S. to construct Thule Air Base and other facilities.
The United States also looked at buying Greenland and Iceland in 1867, the same year it purchased Alaska from Russia.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.