US Secretary of State Blinken to visit Greenland

Blinken will meet with Greenland's newly elected Prime Minister Múte B. Egede in Kangerlussuaq after the Reykjavik Arctic Council ministerial meeting.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks after landing at Boryspil International airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine May 6, 2021. (Efrem Lukatsky / Pool via Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Greenland and meet with top Greenlandic and Danish officials both there and in Denmark, as part of a trip that also includes his visit to Iceland for the biennial Arctic Council ministerial meeting.

Blinken will meet with Pele Broberg, Greenland’s minister of foreign affairs, business, and trade, in Copenhagen before Arctic Council meeting, and with both Broberg and newly elected Prime Minister Múte B. Egede in Kangerlussuaq after the Arctic Council event in Reykjavik, the State Department said in a press release Friday.

The move comes nearly a year after the U.S. opened a consulate in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, for the first time since the 1950s, and a little less than two years after former President Donald Trump made headlines around the world by suggesting the U.S. purchase Greenland from Denmark.

While Greenland and Denmark both rebuffed that offer, U.S. interest in Greenland has continued to grow. In October 2019, the U.S. military announced it had partnered with Greenland to conduct aerial mineral surveys over parts of the island, and last spring the Trump administration State Department unveiled a $12.1 million aid package.

Blinken’s visit signals that U.S. interests in Greenland — include securing access to rare earths to counter Chinese dominance of global supply, and maintaining a military presence, particularly at Thule Air Base in Greenland’s north — and involvement there are likely to continue to grow under the Biden administration.

In addition to attending the Arctic Council ministerial meeting and holding his first in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said Blinken will tour Keflavik Air Base and will meet with Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir and Jenis av Rana, the Faroe Islands’ minister of foreign affairs and culture, during the trip.