- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally announced the reopening of the U.S. consulate in Nuuk, Greenland, on Wednesday, framing the development as a strategic move within the Trump administration’s ongoing push to expand America’s presence and influence in the Arctic region.

The announcement comes two months after the Trump administration extended a $12.1 million economic aid package to Greenland as part of efforts to boost diplomatic ties and strengthen military presence across the Arctic as China and Russia aim to gain greater access to the region.

Greenland has steadily emerged as key territory in a widening geopolitical battle over the Arctic between the U.S., Russia and China.

China has said it is planning a “Polar Silk Road” as part of its global ambition to expand its power and influence, while Russia has sought to obtain a military advantage in the region.

“Our presence in Nuuk will enhance the prosperity we share with our friends in Denmark and Greenland, as we work together with other Arctic allies and partners to ensure the stability and sustainability of development in the region,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.

“It’s good news,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters later at a press briefing. “It’s the culmination of the administration’s efforts to strengthen our engagement in the arctic region.”

The activities of both Beijing and Moscow have led other Arctic nations including the U.S., Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland to develop closer security ties.

Greenland is technically an autonomous Danish dependent territory. Wednesday’s development comes roughly a year after President Trump made global headlines by suggesting the United States could buy Greenland from Denmark.

A report by the German news agency DW or Deutsche Welle noted recently that the last time the U.S. opened a consulate in Greenland was in 1940. At the time, the German Army had just invaded Denmark and the Americans wanted to stop the Nazis from gaining a foothold in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, said the report.

Last year, President Trump made headlines after he reportedly expressed interest in purchasing Greenland from Denmark. The allegation gained widespread attention and criticism, particularly from Denmark, which called the idea of purchasing the autonomous territory “absurd.”

Mr. Pompeo said the reopening of the consulate reflects “America’s commitment to deepening our cooperation with the people of Greenland and the entire Kingdom of Denmark.”

“We thank our many partners in Denmark and Greenland for helping us realize this important step forward toward bolstering our cooperation.”

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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