WASHINGTON—Months after President Trump expressed an interest in buying Greenland and canceled his trip to Denmark when its government refused to sell the autonomous territory, a U.S. delegation was in Greenland on Wednesday for meetings with high-level government officials and civic leaders.
State Department counselor
T. Ulrich Brechbuhl
headed the delegation that included officials from the National Security Council and the Pentagon. The trip includes a visit to Denmark and is aimed at discussing “areas of current and future cooperation,” a State Department spokesperson said.
Denmark’s foreign minister attended the meeting as well.
House Democrats are seeking Mr. Brechbuhl’s testimony in connection with the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president, in which he asked
to investigate Democrat
and his son.
The official didn’t address whether the delegation will discuss Mr. Trump’s interest in buying Greenland, about which The Wall Street Journal reported in August. Mr. Trump later confirmed his interest, prompting the governments of Denmark and Greenland to respond by saying Greenland isn’t for sale. Mr. Trump canceled his scheduled trip to Copenhagen that month, citing Denmark’s refusal to sell. Denmark’s Prime Minister
had called a sale an absurd idea, a statement Mr. Trump said he thought was “nasty.”
U.S. officials view Greenland as important to American national-security interests. A decades-old defense treaty between Denmark and the U.S. gives the U.S. military virtually unlimited rights in Greenland at America’s northernmost base, Thule Air Base. Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it includes a radar station that is part of a U.S. ballistic missile early warning system. The base is also used by the U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The U.S. has sought to derail Chinese efforts to gain an economic foothold in Greenland. The Pentagon worked successfully in 2018 to block China from financing three airports on the island.
“In concert with the Danes, we want to partner with Greenlanders to encourage both local and broader relationships that spur sustainable economic growth and advance our mutual interests, including important economic sectors, such as minerals and energy,” the State Department said in response to questions on Wednesday.
“This is America’s moment to stand up as an Arctic nation and for the Arctic’s future. Our strong partnerships with the people of Denmark and Greenland help us better coordinate our efforts in this strategically important region,” the official said.
Write to Vivian Salama at [email protected]
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