Here's why Trump wants to buy Greenland
Greenland's strategic value is linked tightly to new North Atlantic shipping lanes opening up due to melting polar ice caps. The new lanes have dramatically decreased maritime trade travel times, which generally includes traveling through the Panama or Suez canals to circumnavigate the world.
Greenland's largest economic drivers are fishing and tourism, but the island has drawn rising interest due to its , including coal, zinc, copper, iron ore and rare minerals. There have been expeditions to assess the extent of the nation's resources, but the true quantity is unknown.
China, which is embroiled in a trade battle with the U.S., previously showed interest in developing a "Polar Silk Road" of trade through the North Atlantic shipping lanes. China proposed building new airports and mining facilities on Greenland in 2018, but eventually withdrew its bid.
"If [China were to] have a significant investment in a country that is so strategically important for so many countries, they would have influence there," said Michael Sfraga, director of the Polar Institute at the Wilson Center.
"If you invest a lot in a small island country, you could have a lot of sway there."
Denmark has "publicly expressed concern about China's interest in Greenland," a Pentagon report warned earlier this year.
"Civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean, which could include deploying submarines to the region as a deterrent against nuclear attacks," the report said.