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Greenland cold-shoulders Trump's buyer's interest

China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-19 09:20

A picture taken on July 11 shows houses in Upernavik, a small village in western Greenland. RITZAU SCANPIX/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

QULUSUK, Denmark - Greenland is not for sale, local authorities said on Friday, after a newspaper reported that US President Donald Trump is looking into whether it might be possible for the United States to buy the mineral-rich Arctic island.

Trump has expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark - which is mostly covered in ice - asking advisers if it is possible for the US to acquire the territory, The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The US president, a former real estate magnate, 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 2-million-square-kilometer island in the 18th century, and is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.

There has been no official comment from the White House.

Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted 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," it added.

'A big joke'

The office of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen declined to comment when contacted by Agence France-Presse.

But a former premier, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, tweeted: "It must be an April Fool's Day joke ... but totally out of season!"

Soeren Espersen, foreign ministry spokesperson of the right-wing Danish People's party, turned indignant and called the report, if correct, "disgraceful".

"These comments are an insult to the Kingdom of Denmark," said Espersen. "You can't just sell people like slaves anymore. Those days are past!"

Greenland locals were similarly bemused by the report.

"If you look at the social media, people see it as a big joke," said Jakob Ipsen, owner of a hotel in Qulusuk in eastern Greenland.

"In my own opinion, it's never going to happen. People are laughing at the moment."

Qulusuk has around 280 inhabitants, most of whom make their living from hunting and fishing, but groups of US tourists come to the village during the summer months.

Some Trump advisers 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 advisers wondered about the potential for research or greater military clout for the US.

AFP - Xinhua

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