Denmark and Greenland have agreed to strengthen their cooperation on security and defense, with officials citing the growing strategic role of the Arctic region as thawing ice opens up new trade routes and improves access to the island’s natural resources.
“The presence of Defense Command Denmark in the Arctic and north Atlantic will be even more important in the years to come as the geopolitical importance of the Arctic increases,” the Danish Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The statement follows a visit to Greenland by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and comes in the wake of a diplomatic tussle between the U.S. and Denmark over President Donald Trump’s failed bid to buy the world’s largest island.
The agreement announced on Friday in Copenhagen envisages plans for joint military exercises and training sessions for the emergency services. Denmark sent 38 firefighters to Greenland last week to help put out a fire near Sisimiut, in the western part of the island, that started in early July.
Greenland is rich in oil and rare Earth minerals and is home to a U.S. military base. Russia and China are also seeking a larger presence in the Arctic region.