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U.S. reopens consulate in Greenland

Many have probably already forgotten about President Donald Trump’s attempt to purchase Greenland from the Kingdom of Denmark last summer but the White House is still pressing forward with its hopes to increase its footprint in the Arctic.

On Wednesday, the U.S. reopened a diplomatic outpost in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. It’s part of the White House’s push to curb Russian and Chinese influence in the resource-rich and key military defense region. Greenland’s high volume of rare earth minerals are critical to making high-tech equipment for the military.

“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,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“We thank our many partners in Denmark and Greenland for helping us realize this important step forward toward bolstering our cooperation.”

The announcement comes only days after the Trump administration ordered federal agencies to develop a plan for a new fleet of icebreakers to ensure that the U.S. can maintain a presence in the Arctic. The U.S. has lagged behind the Russians in this area for years.

U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands praised the move.

“The consulate is another positive sign of the strong collaboration between the U.S. government and the Greenlandic and Danish governments,” the ambassador said in a prepared statement.

Sands says that Consul Sung Choi, who previously served at the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen and has focused on Greenland-related matters and Danish domestic politics, will lead the effort in Nuuk.

“We continue, together with Greenland, the dialogue with the United States about development in the Arctic and the close cooperation on U.S. engagement in Greenland,” said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.

In April, the State Department announced it would provide $12.1 million in aid to Greenland, in an effort to counter Chinese and Russian interests in the region.

“The reopening of the Nuuk consulate is an expansion of our investment in that relationship that looks forward to deeper security, deeper economic and deeper people-people ties between the United States, Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark,” a state department spokesman said back in April.

The U.S. previously had a consulate in Nuuk from 1940 to 1953. At that time, it was a response to the German invasion of Denmark and an attempt to keep Adolf Hitler from expanding his presence into the Atlantic.

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