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GREENLAND

‘Not a commodity’: Greenlandic, Danish politicians in scathing response to Trump purchase rumour

A Greenlandic representative and opposition MPs in the Danish parliament have responded to reports US president Donald Trump is considering offering to buy the autonomous territory—and they are not keen on the idea.

'Not a commodity': Greenlandic, Danish politicians in scathing response to Trump purchase rumour
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Trump has raised with advisors the prospect of trying to purchase Greenland, an icy land mass of 2.18 million square kilometres which is an autonomous part of Denmark.

Though unconfirmed by Trump or the White House, the story has spread across international news outlets and become a talking point on social media.

Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, who is one of the two politicians elected from Greenland constituencies to sit in the Danish parliament, said that, should the reports be confirmed, she would firmly oppose any approach from Trump.

Greenland has had an autonomous government since 2009 as part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

“I say ‘no thanks’ to the Americans buying Greenland from Denmark. I’d prefer to strengthen relations between Greenland and Denmark,” Larsen said.

“It is also important to say that Greenland is not a commodity which can just be sold. Denmark couldn’t just go ahead and do that,” she added.

Larsen represents the Inuit Ataqatigiit party, a left wing group which supports economic and political independence for Greenland.

She also said she sees Greenland as having more in common with Denmark than with the United States.

“That is based on values within Greenlandic society and which are built on Nordic social welfare principles, like free education and the being able to afford to see a doctor without worrying whether you can afford it,” she said.

“I’d be concerned about the type of society we’d have if Greenland becomes American rather than Danish,” she added.

Although Denmark is yet to officially comment on the report, opposition politicians have, like Larsen, spoken out to dismiss the idea.

“It must be an April Fool’s Day joke… but totally out of season!”, former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweeted in English (with only minor spelling errors).

Søren Espersen, foreign policy and Greenland spokesperson with the populist Danish People’s Party, who is often supportive of Trump, went as far as to question the US president’s sanity.

“If it’s true that he’s working on these ideas, that’s conclusive evidence he’s gone crazy. I have to tell it like it is: the thought of Denmark selling 50,000 of its citizens to the USA is completely crazy,” Espersen told Ritzau.

The matter should not be up for discussion during Trump's state visit to Denmark next month, he added.

“This is not something which should be discussed. It's a dead duck and makes me very concerned about (Trump's) mental condition,” he said.

READ ALSO: Does Donald Trump really want to buy Greenland from Denmark?

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ENVIRONMENT

Greenland passes law banning uranium mining

Greenland's parliament voted Tuesday to ban uranium mining and exploration in the vast Danish territory, following through on a campaign promise from the ruling left-wing party which was elected earlier this year.

Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement.
Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won snap elections in April that were originally triggered by divisions over a controversial uranium and rare earth mining project.

The IA won 12 seats in the 31-seat Greenlandic national assembly, beating its rival Siumut, a social democratic party that had dominated politics in the island territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

On Tuesday 12 MPs in the national assembly voted to ban uranium mining, with nine voting against. 

The IA had campaigned against exploiting the Kuannersuit deposit, which is located in fjords in the island’s south and is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals.

The project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has not yet been officially abandoned.

But French group Orano announced in May it would not launch exploration despite holding permits to do so.

The massive natural riches of the vast island — measuring two million square kilometres, making it larger than Mexico — have been eyed by many, but few projects have been approved.

The island is currently home to two mines: one for anorthosite, whose deposits contain titanium, and one for rubies and pink sapphires.

While Greenland’s local government is not opposed to all mining activities, it has also banned all oil exploration over concerns for the climate and the environment.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Mute Egede said he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement, which Greenland is one of the few countries not to have ratified.

READ ALSO: Greenland seabed scoured for marine diamonds

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