Politicians in Denmark have reacted with disbelief to reports that Donald Trump has set his sights on buying Greenland – they still insist that the world's largest island is not for sale.
According to an almost-anecdotal report in the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump has showed interest in Greenland’s natural resources and geopolitical importance, and asked his White House counsel to look into the concept.
It was not clear from the report how serious the president was about the idea; neither the State Department nor the White House has commented on the speculation so far.
Officials in Copenhagen did not regard this real estate project as something sane, let alone feasible.
“If it is true that he (Donald Trump) is working on this idea, this is a final proof that he has gone mad,” Soren Espersen, an MP for the right-wing Danish People's Party told the newspaper Jyllands Posten.
“I'd say that the very idea that Denmark can sell 50,000 of its nationals to the United States is absolutely crazy”.
Former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen echoed his tone, tweeting: “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke ... but totally out of [season]!”
It must be an April Fool’s Day joke ... but totally out of sesson! https://t.co/ev5DDVZc5f— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) August 15, 2019
Rasmus Jarlov, a representative of the Conservative People's Party, was also sceptical about the prospects for selling the gigantic island. "Out of all things that are not going to happen, this is the most unlikely. Forget it," he said.
Out of all things that are not going to happen this is the most unlikely. Forget it. https://t.co/0ChJvOVJW7— Rasmus Jarlov (@RasmusJarlov) August 15, 2019
Michael Aastrup, an MP for the liberal Venstre party, was even more outspoken, saying: "Greenland is not for sale! Times when one could buy territories and people have long gone. I hope that our government will declare this firmly to Trump when he pays a visit to Denmark, on behalf of Danish society," Aastrup wrote on Twitter.
Nej, @realDonaldTrump - Grønland er ikke til salg! Tiden hvor man bare kunne købe områder og folk er heldigvis slut for mange år siden. Det forventer jeg også, at regeringen på vegne af rigsfællesskabet, vil forklare i både klar og præcis tale, når Trump besøger Danmark #dkpol— Michael Aastrup (@michaelaastrup) August 16, 2019
Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first trip to Denmark early in September, which is said to be unrelated to the idea.
Martin Lidegaard, a member of the Social Liberal Party, was likewise hopeful that Trump’s alleged territorial ambitions were a joke, but warned that a prospective purchase of Greenland by the United States could lead to the “militarisation” of the island and could encroach on the independence of the local people, meaning a “great loss” for Denmark.
The US embassy to Greenland has not given any comments on the matter, but former ambassador Rufus Gifford caked the idea “a complete and total catastrophe.”
Oh dear lord.— Rufus Gifford (@rufusgifford) August 15, 2019
As someone who loves Greenland, has been there 9 times to every corner and loves the people, this is a complete and total catastrophe. 🇬🇱❤️ https://t.co/Cs2wHhC6U9
Greenland, located between the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans, is an autonomous territory of Denmark. Its government makes decisions on most domestic matters, but Copenhagen remains in charge of foreign and security policy.
The US reportedly proposed to buy Greenland in 1946, under President Harry Truman, for $100 million in gold, and also discussed swapping land in Alaska for those portions of the oil-rich island that had military value for the United States. According to the documents unearthed from the National Archives in the 1970s, the proposal “came as a shock” to the Danes and was laid aside.
If the Unites States bought Greenland, it could become the land deal of the century (with an area of 2.16 million km2, the island is bigger that the lands acquired in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the 1867 Alaska Purchase).
In 1917, Denmark sold the then-Danish West Indies islands to the US for $25 million following an unofficial referendum, in which 99.83 per cent of voters supported the deal. The Caribbean islands, with an area of 346.36 km2, were then renamed ‘the United States Virgin Islands’.