Earlier this week, reports alleged that the United States was interested in purchasing Greenland.
“We’re open for business, not for sale,” is how Greenland’s government dismissed the idea, according to BBC.
The government of Denmark, which currently owns the island, dismissed the proposal as well, with Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen suggesting that he believes Trump is not actually serious about purchasing the autonomous territory.
Sources quoted in various media publications differed over whether Trump was joking or serious about the United States purchasing Greenland, but the president himself eliminated all doubts on Sunday.
Trump confirmed the interest when asked about the idea, The Associated Press reports.
“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” he told reporters.
“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,” he said.
“Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit,” Trump, who is expected to visit Denmark in September as part of a trip to Europe, added.
As the AP notes, Greenland is indeed strategically important, and the U.S. military has a base on the island, from which it conducts surveillance of space, and ballistic missles.
Trump, who rose to prominence as a real estate developer in the New York real estate market, compared purchasing Greenland to making a business deal.
“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal,” the president said, opining that Denmark is hurt “very badly” by owning Greenland, on which it spends — according to the president — $700 million a year.
According to CNN, the Trump administration could be interested in purchasing the island because it is rich in natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, iron, zinc, uranium, lead, and oil. Climate change, which Trump is known to not believe in, is causing the ice sheet on the island to erode, which is predicted to make the mining of resources easier.
The United States has actually signaled willingness to pursue Greenland before. President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, James Byrnes, even discussed the idea during a United Nations meeting in 1946.
Why might Trump want to buy Greenland?
Take a visual tour. https://t.co/MbVeJc97wg
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 16, 2019
Greenland, the largest island in the world, is already feeling the devastating effects of climate change.
As Forbes pointed out, Greenland, which contains enough ice to raise the sea level by 20 feet, recently lost 12.5 billion tons of ice in one day.
Scientists expected this to happen around 2070.
Thomas L. Mote, research professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science at the University of Georgia, explained that melting will now slow down since it is the end of summer.
“We will occasionally see a little bit of melt occurring well into the fall season, but not anything that has a large impact on the annual mass loss,” he said.