Controversial Chinese investments into Greenland’s mineral industry have prompted fresh independence calls within the Danish territory.
Copenhagen – which is currently in primary control of the island’s foreign policy and provides Nuuk with some EUR 459 million in subsidies annually – has voiced opposition against China capitalising on Greenland’s newly exposed mineral resources.
The effort has also drawn fire from the US and the EU as Chinese investors plan to send thousands of cheap migrant workers to the North Atlantic landmass and gain further control of the lucrative rare earths market – which China has monopolised.
Now, some local officials have said that the issue is the latest example on why Greenland needs to officially sever itself from its commonwealth agreement with Denmark. Last week saw the Siumut formally propose an effort to break away; the move came less than three weeks before national elections slated for 12 March.
However, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has since defended Copenhagen’s modern alliance with Greenland, which remains despite two centuries of colonial rule.
She told the media last week, “The legal process has been put on hold until the Greenland election is done. My belief is that both Denmark and Greenland can become stronger because of the commonwealth, not despite of it,” Bloomberg reports.
Meanwhile, Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist continues to promote the investment from around the globe as the island moves economic focus from fishing to inland resources whilst ice melt continues to expose its surface.
Kleist told the media, “Greenlanders are looking for other options, and mining, including large scale projects, is what they’re trying to build the economy on going forward,” Bloomberg reported on Sunday (24 February).