Greenland has recently shortlisted a Chinese construction company to help expand three airports. This calls for concern from the Danish government.
A government official told Reuters that Chinese involvement could upset one of Denmark’s closest allies, The United States of America, and that “we are deeply concerned. China has no business in Greenland.” The official wished to remain anonymous, but is described as “high-ranking.”
Oddly enough, critizism is rather rare when it comes to the mining industry in Greenland, an industry where China is still one of the largest players in the vast tundra of Greenland.
But this may just as well have struck a nerve in the Danish-U.S. relationship. In the 50s the U.S. military was given almost unlimited rights on the Thule Airbase located on the very western part of Greenland – a spot that caused major controversy in the 90s when it was revealed that the Danish government had allowed the U.S. to store nuclear weapons in Greenland during The Cold War.
The company, named China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), was shortlisted by the state-owned Kalaallit Airports, whose job it is to build, expand and manage airports in Nuuk, Ilulissat and Qaqortoq. CCCC is one amongst six companies or consortiums shortlisted by the government of Greenland – two from Denmark and one from the Netherlands, Canada and Iceland.
The contracts for two of the three airport projects – Nuuk and Illulisat – will be rewarded in mid-2018 while Qaqortoq will be rewarded next year.