- September 25, 2019
- Posted by: EuIndia Chambers
- Category: News
Washington wants to step up its presence in the Arctic area
The Donald Trump administration is planning to open a U.S. consulate in Greenland for the first time in decades amid increased strategic and economic interest in the Danish territory.
The State Department said in a letter to Congress that re-establishing a consulate in Nuuk is part of a broader plan to increase the U.S. presence in the Arctic.
The U.S. has a “strategic interest in enhancing political, economic, and commercial relationships across the Arctic region,” said the letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Donald Trump sparked a diplomatic dispute with Denmark earlier this month after he proposed that the U.S. buy Greenland and the Danish government rejected the idea. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called it an “absurd discussion.” Mr. Trump fired back that her comments were “nasty” and cancelled a trip to Denmark.
‘A wonderful woman’
On Friday, though, Mr. Trump said he had spoken with Ms. Frederiksen and called her “a wonderful woman.” “We had a great conversation,” he said . “We have a very good relationship with Denmark… Very nice. She put a call in and I appreciated it very much.”
A permanent diplomatic presence would allow the U.S. to “protect essential equities in Greenland while developing deeper relationships with Greenlandic officials and society,” the letter said. The U.S. opened a consulate in Greenland in 1940 after the Nazi occupation of Denmark. It closed in 1953. The new one would open next year in the capital of the semi-autonomous territory. The State Department said it has already assigned a Greenlandic affairs officer working out of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen.
Greenland is situated in a geographically important region and holds a potential treasure trove of natural gas and rare earth minerals.
The US opened a consulate in Greenland in 1940 in response to the Nazi occupation of Denmark but it was closed in 1953.