US does not seek to buy Greenland, Blinken clarifies
There are at least four times in the history of Greenland when it was suggested that the United States could purchase the territory. The latest came from a former US president, Donald Trump, in 2019, but was not enthusiastically met by Copenhagen, with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen calling the proposition “absurd”.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken acknowledged on Monday that the United States has no plans to buy Greenland from Denmark.
“I’m focused on looking forward, and the short answer is no”, Blinken told Denmark’s DR-TV when asked whether Washington was still considering the purchase of the territory.
His response came as the State Secretary is paying a visit to Denmark, Iceland and Greenland to discuss “strong partnership” and prospects for cooperation in the Arctic region, while attending the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Reykjavik.
Greenland, an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, has seen the US eye the possibility of its purchase or annexation several times in the island’s history. With first initiatives emerging in 1867, the latest proposal to buy Greenland came from a former US president, Donald Trump.
Trump’s interest was coldly received, with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissing the proposal as “absurd”, indicating that the island is not for sale by Copenhagen. Trump’s reaction was swift, calling the prime minister “nasty” and cancelling a visit to Copenhagen.
Trump’s initiative raised eyebrows among Greenlanders. Some, according to media reports, outlined that the offer to purchase the island might prompt Denmark to value the territory more.
“Hopefully this whole Trump thing makes the Danes wake up and show Greenland some respect,” Hanna Jensen, 52, an English teacher in Nuuk, told Sunday Times at the time. “A lot of Danes think everyone here is just a drunk Inuit. But now that America wants to buy us, maybe they can see there is much of value here.”
The world’s largest island, Greenland has been part of Kingdom of Denmark since 1814, and was fully integrated into Denmark in 1953 – the year the Danish Constitution affirmed that the people of Greenland had become citizens of Denmark. In 1979, Copenhagen granted home rule to the territory, and in 2008 Greenlanders voted in favour of the Self-Government Act that envisaged more power transferred to local government from Denmark.