President of the United States Donald Trump has reportedly expressed an interest into buying the world’s largest island – the Danish territory of Greenland.
The president is said to have discussed the idea with his staff after hearing about the island’s geopolitical importance and natural resources.
However, Greenlanders have reacted angrily to the news, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating on Twitter: “We’re open for business, not for sale.”
The self-governing territory has been controlled by Denmark since 1814 and is home to almost 56,000 people.
The island is home to natural resources, such as zinc, iron ore and uranium, as well as a US military base, and its location bordering the Artic Circle is said to be of interest to America’s national security.
The US has previously bought land to expand; most notably purchasing over just two million square kilometres in the mid-West (known as Louisiana) from France in 1803, and the now state of Alaska from Russia in 1867.
However, the purchase of Greenland would be the largest such acquisition in American history – at 2.2 million square kilometres – and would make the United States the second largest country behind Russia.
This is not be the first time the country has sought to buy the island, having considered buying Greenland along with Iceland in 1867 and offering Denmark $100 million in gold in 1946, after the island had been under US occupation during World War II.
Rather than seeking ownership by another country, Greenlanders are actually looking to break away from Danish rule and become independent.
However, making the economy more diverse and less reliant on a block grant it receives from Copenhagen are currently hurdles to achieving the goal of becoming their own nation.
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, an MP from the pro-independence party Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People), told The Guardian that Greenland is not a “commodity that can be bought and sold.”
“If we were bought by the US, our welfare system would be dismantled and fundamental changes would be made to Greenlandic society,” she added.