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Trump to re-open US consulate in Greenland after being told it's not for sale

Phil Thomas
Getty Images

The US says it will reopen its consulate in Greenland for the first time in decades - just days after Denmark’s refusal to sell the region sparked a presidential tantrum.

Donald Trump angrily pulled out of a state visit to Denmark and dubbed prime minister Mette Frederiksen “nasty” for telling him that his wish to buy Greenland was “absurd”.

But the State Department now says it wants to re-establish a consulate in Nuuk, the capital of the semi-autonomous region.

The US opened a consulate in Greenland in 1940 in response to the Nazi occupation of Denmark but it was closed in 1953.

In a letter sent to Congress, and seen by the Associated Press, the State Department says that the US has a “strategic interest in enhancing political, economic and commercial relationships across the Arctic region”.

It said a permanent US presence would allow it to “protect essential equities in Greenland while developing deeper relationships with Greenlandic officials and society”, and 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 US interests in Greenland”.

The new mission would open next year with a staff of seven.

Mr Trump reacted with fury after his suggestion of buying Greenland was shot down.

He stunned Denmark by saying he was pulling out of a planned state visit as a result, complaining that the prime minister’s response was not sufficiently respectful - a surprising claim given the president’s regular verbal broadsides against allies.

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He told reporters: ”I thought the prime minister's statement ... was nasty. It was not a nice way of doing it. She could have just said 'no, we'd rather not do it' ... they can't say 'how absurd’."

Greenland would be a valuable strategic acquisition for the United States, particularly with regard to fears of Russian expansion into the Arctic region.

In 1991 it was revealed that Harry S Truman, US president between 1945 and 1953, had secretly offered to buy Greenland, although he too was rebuffed.

Additional reporting by the AP

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