Greenland cold-shoulders Trump's buyer's interest

We're open for business, not for sale, island's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses

Photo: AP US President Donald Trump

Greenland is not for sale, local authorities said Friday, after a newspaper reported that US President Donald Trump is looking into whether it might be possible for the United States to buy the mineral-rich Arctic island.

Trump has expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark - which is mostly covered in ice - asking advisors if it is possible for the US to acquire the territory, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing people familiar with the discussions. The president, a former real estate magnate, has been curious about the area's natural resources and geopolitical relevance, the paper added in its report.

In response Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted the island was ready to talk business, but was not for sale.

"#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism," it tweeted. "We're open for business, not for sale."

Greenland is a self-governing region of Denmark, which colonised the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square kilometre) island in the 18th century, and is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community. But Greenland doesn't quite live up to its lush name - 85% of the island is covered by a 3-kilometre ice sheet that contains 10% of the world's fresh water. The world's largest island has nevertheless suffered from climate change becoming a giant melting icicle that threatens to submerge the world's coastal areas one day.

Some Trump advisors, however, say acquiring the land, which is northeast of Canada, could be good for the US, while others called it only a "fleeting fascination" from the president. Others outside the White House say Trump's interest could be a desire to secure a legacy achievement, WSJ claims, and advisors wondered about the potential for research or greater military clout for the US. The US's northern-most military base, Thule Air Base, has been located on Greenland for decades.

Still, this isn't the first time the US president has expressed an extravagant interest in buying foreign properties - he has said North Korea's "great beaches" would make ideal locations for condos.

It is also not be the first time an American leader tried to buy the world's largest island. In 1946, the US proposed to pay Denmark $100m to buy Greenland after flirting with the idea of swapping land in Alaska for strategic parts of the Arctic island.

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