US no longer wants to buy Greenland, Blinken confirms | US news

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has confirmed that America no longer wants to buy Greenland.

Blinken visited the Danish autonomous territory as he ended a four-day trip that included a meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering the Arctic.

“I am in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger,” Antony Blinken told reporters on his final stop of the Arctic tour.

He stressed that he was not there to buy the country, signalling a change in policy from the Trump administration. Asked whether the US had definitively ruled out any plans to buy Greenland, Blinken replied with a smile: “I can confirm that’s correct.”

Antony Blinken at the Black Ridge Viewing site in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Antony Blinken at the Black Ridge Viewing site in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland Photograph: Saul Loeb/AP

Former US President Donald Trump announced in August 2019 that he was considering buying the land mass, which is a quarter of the size of the US.

“Denmark essentially owns it,” he said at the time. “We’re very good allies with Denmark, we protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly I’d be.’ Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No1 on the burner, I can tell you that.”

The purchase would be “essentially a large real estate deal”, he said at the time.

Trump’s proposal, described as “absurd” by the Danish government, caused a diplomatic kerfuffle.

Last year, the US reopened a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk, and pledged $12m in aid for civilian projects.

While he spoke of potential additional funding, Blinken was vague about new US projects, even though the new Greenlandic local government had floated the idea of a free trade agreement earlier in the week.

“We would like to find ways to strengthen even more the commercial relationship,” Blinken said.

Greenland’s new prime minister Mute Egede, who came to power in April, said he was “convinced that this decade will be the beginning of a new era in the relationship between our countries.”

The left-wing government, which won snap parliamentary elections last month, is allied with a small pro-independence party, Naleraq, which has shown itself to be in favour of mending ties with the US.

–with Agence France-Presse

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