The United States has reopened a consulate in Greenland, less than a year after Donald Trump said he was interested in buying the island.
In a tweet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the consulate in the capital Nuuk was opening on Wednesday. “Our presence in Nuuk will strengthen our partnerships with our Arctic allies and enhance the shared prosperity of our friends in Denmark and Greenland. We thank our Allies for helping us realize this momentous occasion.”
Speaking to the press in April, Pompeo said the opening of the consulate was “a statement of America’s commitment to the Arctic, as non-Arctic states look to exploit the region for their own interests.” The last time the U.S. had such a presence in Greenland was in 1953.
In August 2019, Trump said he had discussed the idea of buying the autonomous Danish territory and tweeted a photo of a small coastal village dotted with colorful wooden homes, with a giant Trump Tower added. “I promise not to do this to Greenland,” he wrote.
However, Danish Prime Minister MetteFrederiksen said: “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
“It’s an absurd discussion, and [Greenland premier] Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That’s where the conversation ends,” she told the newspaper Sermitsiaq.
Shortly after, Trump announced that he was postponing a scheduled trip to Denmark to meet with Frederiksen. “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!” However, he later said the Danish PM’s use of the word “absurd” was “nasty” and “inappropriate.”
In February this year, the U.S. administration requested more than half a million dollars to “establish a permanent diplomatic presence in Greenland.”
“It allows us first to represent the Americans who are there and second to have more of a strategic presence,” a State Department official said at the time of the request for funds. “It’s not very expensive. … It’s a start. And it says that we’re at least there and attempting to play.”