President Donald Trump has likened buying Greenland to ‘a large real estate deal’ after confirming interest in buying the world’s largest island from Denmark.
Trump said on Sunday that the idea of buying Greenland has been discussed within his administration because of the strategic benefits for the U.S. and suggested that the semi-autonomous territory is a financial burden to Denmark.
It comes after Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Greenland was not for sale and the idea of selling it to the U.S. was absurd.
‘Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,’ Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told the newspaper Sermitsiaq during a visit to Greenland.
Trump said that while he had recently discussed the possibility, he said such a move was not an immediate priority for his administration.
President Donald Trump has likened buying Greenland to ‘a large real estate deal’ after confirming interest in buying the world’s largest island from Denmark. It comes after Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Greenland was not for sale and the idea of selling it to the U.S. was absurd
‘It’s just something we’ve talked about,’ Trump told reporters when asked about the idea.
‘Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.’
The U.S. military has operated for decades from Thule Air Base in Greenland, which is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
The northern-most U.S. base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.
‘Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,’ Trump said.
Trump, who made a fortune in the New York real estate market and owns or licenses properties around the world, appeared to cast the idea from the perspective of a developer.
‘Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss,’ he said.
He is due to visit Copenhagen early next month when the Arctic will be on the agenda in meetings with Frederiksen and Prime Minister Kim Kielsen of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.
rump confirmed to reporters on Sunday that he had recently discussed the possibility, though he said such a move was not an immediate priority. He is pictured with son Barron and First Lady Melania on his return to the White House on Sunday
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday initially confirmed media reports earlier in the week that Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying Greenland.
‘I don’t want to predict an outcome. I’m just saying the president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a Greenland purchase,’ Kudlow told Fox News.
Kudlow said the situation was ‘developing’ and noted that U.S. President Harry Truman also had wanted to buy Greenland.
‘And Denmark owns Greenland, Denmark is an ally, Greenland is a strategic place, up there. And they´ve got a lot of valuable minerals,’ Kudlow added.
A defence treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the U.S. military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland.
Greenland, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependent on Danish economic support. It handles its own domestic affairs while Copenhagen looks after defence and foreign policy.
‘It’s an absurd discussion, and Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That’s where the conversation ends,’ Frederiksen told the Danish broadcaster DR.
On Friday, Greenland’s foreign minister, Ane Lone Bagger, had told Reuters: ‘We are open for business, but we’re not for sale.