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Trump Reportedly Wants To Buy Greenland. Greenland Says: No, Thank You

Icebergs floating behind the town center in July in Ilulissat, Greenland. On Friday, Greenlandic and Danish politicians brushed off reports Trump wants to "buy" the Arctic island.Icebergs floating behind the town center in July in Ilulissat, Greenland. On Friday, Greenlandic and Danish politicians brushed off reports Trump wants to "buy" the Arctic island.
Icebergs floating behind the town center in July in Ilulissat, Greenland. On Friday, Greenlandic and Danish politicians brushed off reports Trump wants to "buy" the Arctic island.Photo by Sean Gallup—Getty Images

Not satisfied with a mere 50 states, President Donald Trump reportedly has his eyes set on another piece of land: Greenland, the vast Arctic island nestled between North America and Europe.

The president has repeatedly expressed interest in buying the island to advisers, and asked his White House counsel to investigate the possibility, according to the Wall Street Journal. The White House did not respond to Fortune's request for comment.

On Friday, Greenland issued a clear and resounding answer to Trump's apparent overture: Nej tak (no thank you.)

"We're open for business, not for sale," tweeted Greenland's Ministry of Foreign of Affairs.

"We have a good cooperation with U.S.A., and we see it as an expression of greater interest in investing in our country and the possibilities we offer," a spokesperson for the office of the premier of Greenland, Kim Kielsen, said Friday. "Of course, Greenland is not for sale."

Because of the "unofficial" nature of the news, the office added it has no further comments.

Greenland, a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, is more than three times the size of Texas, with about 56,000 inhabitants, most of them indigenous peoples native to the island. It has two members of parliament in the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, in addition to its own parliament, the Inatsisartut, in the capital of Nuuk.

On Friday morning, Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, one of Greenland's MPs in the Danish Parliament, tweeted that the nation was not interested in becoming part of the U.S., and added that a "better and more equal partnership" with Denmark would be the best way forward for a free Greenland.

Speaking to DR, the Danish state broadcaster, Larsen added that while being under U.S. control would have some advantages—the island has pushed to extract raw resources and expand its own wealth—she warned that U.S. ownership would destroy Greenland's welfare state.

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college. Needless to say, those are benefits the U.S. does not offer.

Danish politicians, too, were not impressed.

The Danish government spokesman for Greenland, Marcus Knuth, said Greenland—among other islands within the Danish Kingdom—are "not for sale," and the idea was completely out of the question.

"I hope it's a joke," said Martin Lindegaard, chairman of the government's foreign policy committee, echoing a comment made by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark's former prime minister.

"It must be an April Fool's Joke... but totally out of season!" he tweeted.

The U.S. has expressed interest in Greenland before. In 1946, the Truman government proposed buying Greenland for $100 million—to be paid in gold—while also considering doing a swap for parts of Alaska, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. currently owns the Thule air base on the island.

Why the interest? Greenland's resources are both natural—potential energy resources, alongside stocks of fish and seafood—and geopolitical, representing a bridge both between North America and Europe, and to the increasingly fraught Arctic, where Russia has a presence. China, too, has tried to invest in infrastructure in Greenland.

There's also a bit of awkward timing at play: Donald Trump is due to visit Denmark in late August or early September and is set to meet with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark while he's there.

Meanwhile, unsolicited acquisition interest from Trump may be the least of Greenland's problems, as it faces the devastating impacts of climate change.

This summer, record temperatures have fueled forest fires, while its ice sheet is rapidly deteriorating, losing 11 billion tons of surface ice on Thursday alone.

This story was updated to reflect comments from the office of the Premier of Greenland.

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