How a potential Chinese-built airport in Greenland could be risky for a vital US Air Force base
Greenland’s geography makes it heavily reliant on air transport, but a recent project to build three additional airports in the country have raised questions about China’s influence there and across Europe, North America, and the Arctic. The problem in this instance was the naming of a company owned by the Chinese state, one formerly blacklisted by the World Bank, as a finalist for the contract. Denmark has vetoed earlier Chinese attempts at investment and influence in the country and region, but the future of this project is uncertain. And, given the small economy, it could soon wield a strong economic influence. China currently owns 10% of cargo port space in Europe and has been accused of leveraging its influence in a variety of places. In Greenland, the U.S. is worried that Chinese influence could damage their position and threaten the stability of the Thule Air Base, home to missile warning systems, radar systems, space control systems, a large runway, and the northernmost deep water port in the world.”A Chinese presence in Greenland would complicate the U.S. position on the island – ultimately it is not impossible to imagine that China could pressure the Greenlandic government to ask the Americans to leave or demand permission to get a Chinese military or dual-use presence there,” stated on professor at the Royal Danish Defense College’s Institute for Strategy.