According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, President Trump has expressed interest to acquire Greenland, the world's largest island. Sources said he explored the options with a varying degree of seriousness.
Greenland is an Arctic island with a population of 56,000. It is a self-ruling territory, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It has a locally-elected government, in charge of domestic matters. Its foreign and security policy are in the hands of Denmark. Eighty percent of the island is covered in ice.
Greenland has an essential meaning for the U.S. defense system as it is home to the Thule air base, built in the 1950s. Situated 750 miles inside the Arctic Circle, its radar and listening station employ 600 people.
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the Arctic as an" arena of global competition and power." He also expressed concerns about the Russian and Chinese involvement in the region.
Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the country is open to business with the United States, but it is not for sale.
Asked to comment on the possible acquisition from Washington, Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, an M.P. from the Greenland's second-largest party, said the country had no commodity for sale. Larsen also added that the locals were "tremendously uncomfortable" to hear about Trump's plans.
In Larsen's view, the island's welfare system would be negatively affected in possible merge with the U.S., which would lead to fundamental changes in the local society. According to Larsen, it is in Greenland's best interest to stay with Denmark and to be granted independence in the future.
The news of possible U.S. acquisition of Greenland sparked debates in Denmark too. The former Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweeted that it was "an April Fools' Day joke completely out of season."
For the leader of the nationalist People's party, Søren Espersen, it was proof that "President Trump has gone crazy."
Pernille Skipper, of the Red-Green Alliance, commented that it says a lot about the American President that he thinks that he can buy a whole country along with its population. Greenland is not on the market, and Skipper concluded, highlighting that it is no longer the 19th century.
President Trump is scheduled to make his first visit to Denmark on September 2. He will meet the newly-elected prime minister, Mette Frederiksen and will also attend a state banquet hosted by Queen Margrethe II.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that President Trump was not serious about buying Greenland?