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President Trump watches over a new property purchase: Greenland



WASHINGTON – President Trump made a name for himself on the world's most famous island. Now he wants to buy the biggest in the world.

The idea that the US is buying Greenland has inspired the imagination of the former real estate developer, according to the people familiar with the discussions, who said Mr. Trump had done this with varying degrees of seriousness. repeatedly expresses interest in the purchase of the ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

In meetings, dinners, and in-between talks, Mr. Trump has asked consultants whether the US can acquire Greenland and listened with interest as to when they are discussing the country's abundant resources and geopolitical importance, and have considered two Citizens asked his lawyer in the White House to deal with the idea.

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Some of his advisors supported the concept and said it was a good economic game, while others dismissed it as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition. It is also unclear how the US would acquire Greenland, even if the effort were serious.

With approximately 56,000 inhabitants, Greenland is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and while its government decides on most domestic affairs, foreign and security policy is handled by Copenhagen. Mr. Trump is expected to make his first visit to Denmark early next month, though the visit has nothing to do with it, these people said.

The White House and the State Department did not respond to a request for comment. Officials from the Danish Royal House and the Danish Embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to comments, as did officials from the Greenland Representative Office in Washington and the Greenlandic Prime Minister.

A massive iceberg at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord in early August near Ilulissat, Greenland.


Photo:

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

US. Officials consider Greenland to be important to US national security interests. A decade-long defense contract between Denmark and the US provides the US military with virtually unlimited rights in Greenland on America's northernmost base, Thule Air Base. 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle is a radar station that is part of a US ballistic missile early warning system. The base is also used by the US Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The US has attempted to thwart Chinese efforts to gain a foothold in Greenland. In 2018, the Pentagon successfully worked to prevent China from financing three airports on the island.

People outside the White House have described the purchase of Greenland as an Alaska acquisition of Mr. Trump's legacy, consultants said. The few current and former White House officials who had heard about the term described it with a mixture of anticipation and concern, as it is not known how far the president could advance the idea.

B. whether the US could use Greenland to build a stronger military presence in the Arctic and what research opportunities it could offer.

Although Greenland has enormous natural resources on an area of ​​811,000 square kilometers, $ 591 million in subsidies are required Annually from Denmark, which accounts for approximately 60% of its annual budget, according to US and Danish government statistics.

Icebergs in East Greenland on Monday. Although technically part of North America, Greenland is culturally and politically linked to Europe.


Photo:

Mstyslav Chernov / Associated Press

Although technically part of North America, Greenland is culturally and politically linked to Europe. After the Second World War, the US was under President

Harry Truman

developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland and in 1946 offered to buy it from Denmark for $ 100 million. But Denmark refused to sell. And that was the second failed attempt – the Foreign Ministry had also launched in 1867 an investigation into the purchase of Greenland and Iceland.

At a dinner party last spring, Trump said someone had told him at a roundtable that Denmark had financial difficulties over helping Greenland and the proposal to buy the island.

"What do you think of that?" He asked the room, the person said. "Do you think it would work?"

The person described the question less as a serious request than as a joke, indicating that I am so powerful that I could buy a land. The idea still hovered at a campaign event, he probably did not seriously think about it. The person believed the president was interested in the idea because of the island's natural resources and would leave him a legacy similar to that of the president

Dwight Eisenhower

Alaska's admission to the US as a state.

An iceberg floating in a fjord near the city of Tasiilaq. Greenland has huge natural resources covering 811,000 square kilometers.


Photo:

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Secretary

Mike Pompeo

It was planned to visit Greenland in May to discuss long-term peace and sustainable economic development, notably because "we are worried about other nations' activities, including China, that do not share these commitments," a senior foreign ministry official said at the time , Pompeo was also to visit the New York Air National Guard in Kangerlussuaq, which supports US scientists in exploring the Greenland Icecap. Kenneth Mortensen, a real estate broker in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, said that the current joke in Greenland is that Mr Trump is traveling to Denmark with the sole intention of buying his island. But he said Mr. Trump could be in trouble.

"You can never own land here," Mr. Mortensen said, since all lands are owned by the government. "In Greenland, you have the right to use the land on which you want to build a house, but you can not buy it."

"Of course, the purchase of Greenland is a completely different matter," he added. "IM not sure."

Write to Vivian Salama at [email protected], Rebecca Ballhaus at [email protected], Andrew Restuccia at [email protected], and Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender @ wsj.com

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