U.S. economic aid to Greenland draws criticism in Denmark

  • World
  • Thursday, 23 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: General view of the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, D.C., U.S. August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - An economic aid package being prepared by the U.S. government to Greenland is drawing criticism in Denmark less than a year after it rebuffed U.S. President Donald Trump's offer to buy the vast Arctic island.

The U.S. ambassador to Denmark said in an op-ed this week that the government is working on "a substantial package of economic aid" to Greenland.

"They have clearly crossed the line," said Karsten Honge, member of the foreign affairs committee for the Socialist People's Party, a government ally.

"It's completely unheard of that a close ally tries to create division between Greenland and Denmark this way,"

"This is an attempt to bribe the Greenlandic people with the aim to increase their military presence there," he told Reuters.

Soren Espersen, a member of the Danish parliament's foreign affairs committee for opposition party The Danish People's Party, called the U.S. offer "an insult" to Greenland and Denmark.

The Arctic island is important for the U.S. military and its ballistic missile early warning system, as it balances a Russian and Chinese commercial and military buildup in the Arctic.

Greenland, home to only 56,000 people but rich in natural resources, is an autonomous Danish territory.

The United States plans to open a consulate in Greenland's capital Nuuk later this year.

Neither the Danish foreign ministry not the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen were immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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