The Trump administration is planning to open a US consulate in Greenland for the 1st time in decades amid increased strategic and economic interest in the Danish territory.
The State Department says in a letter to Congress that re-establishing a consulate in Nuuk is part of a broader plan to increase the US presence in the Arctic.
The US has a “strategic interest in enhancing political, economic, and commercial relationships across the Arctic region,” said the letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Trump sparked a bit of a dust-up with US-ally Denmark this week after he proposed that the US buy Greenland and the Danish government rejected the idea.
Danish PM Mette Frederiksen called it an “absurd discussion.” Preident Trump fired back that her comments were “nasty” and he canceled a planned trip to Denmark in early September.
Friday, President Trump said he had spoken with Ms Frederiksen and called her “a wonderful woman.”
“We had a great conversation”, he told reporters before leaving the White House for the G-7 Summit in France. “We have a very good relationship with Denmark. … Very nice. She put a call in and I appreciated it very much.”
A permanent diplomatic presence would allow the US to “protect essential equities in Greenland while developing deeper relationships with Greenlandic officials and society,” the letter said.
It said the consulate would be “a critical component of our efforts to increase US presence in the Arctic and would serve as an effective platform to advance U.S. interests in Greenland.”
The USS opened a consulate in Greenland in Y 1940 after the Nazi occupation of Denmark. It closed in Y 1953. The new 1 would open next year in the capital of the semi-autonomous territory.
The State Department said it has already assigned a Greenlandic affairs officer working out of the US Embassy in Copenhagen. It now plans to hire locally-employed staff in Greenland by Fall, or soon thereafter. Ultimately, it expects a staff of 7 at the consulate in Y 2020.
Experts say establishing a greater US, as it is situated in a geographically important region and holds a potential Key source of Nat Gas and rare earth minerals.
The US Russia, China and others are showing their interests.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward a program to reaffirm his country’s presence in the Arctic, including efforts to build ports and other infrastructure and expand its icebreaker fleet. Russia wants to stake its claim in the region that is believed to hold up to 25% of the Earth’s undiscovered Crude Oil and Nat Gas.
China sees Greenland as a possible source of rare earth minerals and other resources as well as a location for a port to ship through the Arctic to the eastern US.