Copenhagen approves a US consulate in Nuuk

Allowing a Washington consulate will benefit Greenland, according to the Danish foreign ministry.

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A street scene from Nuuk, Greenland, in a March 13, 2016 file photo (Kevin McGwin)

A U.S. request to re-establish a permanent diplomatic presence in Greenland has been approved by the Danish foreign ministry. 

Sermitsiaq.AG, a Greenlandic news outlet, reports that the approval to open a consulate was granted after consultation with officials in Nuuk.

Previously, the U.S. operated a consulate in Nuuk between 1940, when Nazi Germany occupied Denmark, and 1953.

The decision comes amid growing unease in the Danish and Greenlandic legislatures over Washington’s interest in Greenland. Most recently, revelations that the Pentagon was considering helping to pay for planned enlargements of three civilian airports led to calls by Greenlandic lawmakers to declare the airports off-limits to military use.

[The US State Department is now hiring for a Greenland consulate]

However, in a written statement to Sermitisaq.AG, Jeppe Kofod, the Danish foreign minister, said allowing the U.S. to open a consulate would help Greenland make the most of Washington’s attention.

“Together with Greenland, we will continue the dialogue with the U.S. about development in the Arctic and the close collaboration on US involvement in Greenland,” Kofod said.

In connection with the announcement in May that it would see to open a consulate, the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen would make Sung Choi, a senior diplomat, its envoy to Greenland. It is unknown whether he will head the consulate, which is expected to be staffed by two diplomats and five local hires.