Trump Administration Plans To Open A Consulate In Greenland To Increase U.S. Presence There

The Arctic island is still not for sale, however.

a town in greenland
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The Arctic island is still not for sale, however.

The Trump administration plans to open a U.S. Consulate in Greenland, decades after the last one there closed, Yahoo News reports. The move comes after the administration was rebuffed in its attempts to buy the Arctic island.

In a letter sent to Congress this week, the State Department, which is part of the Executive Branch, said that re-establishing a consulate in Nuuk is part of administration efforts to increase the U.S. presence on the autonomous Danish territory.

Last week, news broke that Donald Trump had suggested purchasing Greenland from Denmark, a move that seemingly came out of nowhere and stunned observers. However, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the island is not for sale, temporarily souring relations between the U.S. and Denmark. Trump later canceled a planned trip to Denmark.

However, Trump told reporters on Friday that he had spoken to Fredericksen on the phone and that they had a “great conversation.”

Increasing The U.S. Presence In Greenland

Greenland is already home to a U.S. military base, the Thule Air Base. However, the Trump administration wants the U.S. to have an even greater presence there, to “protect essential equities in Greenland while developing deeper relationships with Greenlandic officials and society,” according to the letter sent from Congress.

Why the U.S. is suddenly so interested in Greenland is unclear. Regardless, the U.S. wants to open up a consulate in Nuuk, Greenland’s largest city, which is home to about one third of the island’s 56,000 or so residents.

What’s The Difference Between An Embassy And A Consulate?

Not much, according to World Atlas. Embassies are generally located in capital cities and house the sending country’s ambassador and his/her offices and staff. Consulates are generally located away from capital cities and house only support staff but not the ambassador.

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Both agencies function as liaisons between the sending country and any of its citizens that may need help in the receiving country — for example, assistance with a lost passport or a war or natural disaster.

The last U.S. Consulate in Greenland closed in 1953, according to PBS Newshour.

When Will It Happen?

The U.S. already has a diplomatic presence in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, of which Greenland is an autonomous possession. The State Department says that a Greenlandic affairs officer has already been appointed to work out of the Copenhagen embassy. Meanwhile, the agency hopes to have a fully-staffed consulate, with seven employees, open in Nuuk by 2020.