How a potential Chinese-built airport in Greenland could be risky for a vital US Air Force base

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Snow blows near the U.S. Air Force’s Thule Air Base on March 25, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

 

WASHINGTON — With less than 60,000 people spread across more than 830,000 square miles, Greenland relies heavily on air transport to move supplies and people up and down its coast.

So when the local government issued a solicitation to build three new airports, the move made sense from a business perspective. The project would be expensive, but would improve commerce and make life on the island easier for its residents.

Then a Chinese company — owned by the government in Beijing, and once blacklisted by the World Bank — put forth a bid, and a simple request for proposals transformed into a project with international diplomatic ramifications.

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Greenland report paves way for sovereign uranium mining

A new report commissioned by the Greenland government has concluded that the country has full sovereignty over commodities trading, including for uranium, which is regulated by international treaties on non-nuclear proliferation.

The report was kept confidential for more than six months but recently  published as Greenland’s parliament prepares to vote on 24 October on whether to allow the extraction of radioactive substances in Greenland.

The outcome of the vote is expected to be a clear ‘yes’. Continue reading