Five things to know about Greenland

phys.org | 8/1/2019 | Staff
rubydrummer (Posted by) Level 3
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US President Donald Trump has confirmed he is keen to buy Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory rich in natural resources and of increasing geopolitical relevance as the Arctic ice sheet melts.

But Denmark, a NATO ally, swiftly retorted that the island, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is not for sale, prompting Trump to cancel a planned state visit.

Things - Greenland

Here are five things to know about Greenland.

Ice-covered 'Green earth'

Name - Greenland - Kilometre - Island - World

The name "Greenland" is misleading as the two million square kilometre island, the world's largest island that is not a continent, has three quarters bordering the Arctic Ocean and is 85 percent covered in ice.

Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953, when it became part of the Danish Realm.

Territory - Status - Today - Island - Economy

In 1979, it gained "autonomous territory" status. Today, the island's economy depends heavily on subsidies from Copenhagen.

Its 55,000 inhabitants—of whom 17,000 reside in the capital Nuuk—are more than 90 percent Inuit, an indigenous group from Central Asia.

Greenland - Defence - World - War - II

Greenland has been essential to US defence since World War II, when it was a base for monitoring Nazi ships and submarines passing through the Arctic on their way to the north Atlantic.

In 1943, the US Air Force built its farthest-north air base at Thule, crucial during the Cold War as a first line of monitoring against a potential Russian attack.

Population - Base - Today - Part - NATO

With a population of 600, the base is today part of a NATO mission, operating satellite monitoring and strategic missile detection systems.

As the polar ice sheet melts, opening up potentially major shipping routes, other global powers have moved in.

Russia - Claim - Region - China - Interest

Russia has become more active, and, while it has no geographical claim to the region, newcomer China has also begun to show interest in the region.

China's massive commercial shipping industry would benefit from the new polar routes.

January - Beijing - Silk - Road - Strategy

In January 2018, Beijing unveiled its "Polar Silk Road" strategy to extend its economic...
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