by L. Peter, Nov 2019 in BBCNews
Denmark has for the first time put mineral-rich Greenland top of its national security agenda, ahead of terrorism and cybercrime.
The Defence Intelligence Service (FE) linked its change in priorities to US interest in Greenland, expressed in President Donald Trump’s desire to buy the vast Arctic territory.
Greenland is part of Denmark, but has significant autonomy, including freedom to sign major business deals.
China has mining deals with Greenland.
The FE’s head Lars Findsen said Greenland was now a top security issue for Denmark because a “power game is unfolding” between the US and other global powers in the Arctic.
In August the Danish government dismissed as “absurd” President Trump’s suggestion of a US-Denmark land deal over Greenland.
Mr Trump then cancelled a state visit to Denmark and called Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen “nasty”.
The US interest in Greenland goes back decades. The US has a key Cold War-era air base at Thule, used for surveillance of space using a massive radar. It is the US military’s northernmost base, there to provide early warning of a missile attack on North America.
Why the new focus on Greenland?
Greenland’s strategic importance has grown amid increased Arctic shipping and international competition for rare minerals. Arctic waters are becoming more navigable because of melting ice, linked to global warming.