Briefing With Senior State Department Official On the Administration’s Arctic Strategy

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Special Briefing
Office Of The Spokesperson
April 23, 2020

MODERATOR:  Hey, welcome, everybody.  Thanks for joining the call.  We’re here today for a background briefing on the administration’s Arctic strategy, a topic that I know many of you are interested in, and how that strategy relates to our plans to reestablish a U.S. diplomatic presence in Nuuk, Greenland.  A reminder that today’s backgrounder is embargoed until 11:30 a.m. Washington time tomorrow, April 23rd.  This embargo will allow for the Greenlandic Government to issue a statement that is expected around 11:00 a.m.  If you have any concerns with that embargo and – please remove yourself from the call if you can’t observe it.

[Senior State Department Official] will be our briefer for today.  He will be cited as a State Department – a senior State Department official.  [Senior State Department Official]’s colleagues have coordinated within the State Department and the interagency to ensure that across U.S. – across the U.S. Government we’ve been working closely with the Greenlanders and the Danes to get to where we are today.

So at this time I will – just before I turn it over, if you want to get in the queue, please go ahead and do that by following the instructions that the moderator had indicated, and I’ll go ahead and turn it over to [Senior State Department Official].

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Thank you very much, and if folks will be a little patient, I want to start at the 100,000-foot level, if I can put it that way, and then slowly come down to this – the very specific issue of our presence in Greenland and our assistance to Greenland.

I want to state a couple principles right up front, which is we have a very clear set of goals and objectives in the Arctic, and they’re quite straightforward.  We want a secure and stable Arctic where U.S. interests are safeguarded, our homeland – the American homeland – is protected, and the Arctic states are working cooperatively to address shared challenges.  And the department – Department of State – is working in collaboration with other agencies across the United States Government to ensure that the Arctic remains a region free of conflict as well as characterized by respect for national sovereignty, a rules-based order, constructive engagement among Arctic states to address our shared economic, scientific, and environmental challenges.

We have – we are working closely with our Arctic partners through the Arctic Council, which is the premier recognized forum for matters of Arctic governance, and as folks know, it’s made up of the eight Arctic states: the United States, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden.  Now, our principal focus since the – that’s been our principal focus.  The work of the Arctic Council, since its formation in 1996, has been on promoting this coordination and cooperation among Arctic states and working, of course, with Arctic indigenous communities and other inhabitants on the issues that I identified.

But we also are in the process of adjusting our Arctic policy to today’s new strategic realities, and those are characterized by the return of geopolitics, if I can put it that way, not just to the Arctic but generally across the globe.  And it’s a change that’s driven by the desire of Russia and the People’s Republic of China to challenge the United States and the West.  We see this playing out in other parts of the world.  The Arctic is not immune from the implications of these changes and we can expect, as you all probably know, the rapidly changing Arctic system to create greater incentives for the Kremlin and the PRC to pursue agendas that clash with the interests of the United States and our allies and partners.

Now I’ll say a couple quick words about each of those challenges and then I’ll turn to the issue of Nuuk and our assistance in Greenland.  I want to be clear that the United States recognizes that Russia has legitimate Arctic interests.  It’s an Arctic Council member.  It’s cooperated with the United States and other Arctic states in a number of areas, including oil spill response, search and rescue, pollution issues.  That work is continuing; it’s ongoing; it’s welcome.  We have no concerns about it or no objections to it, and we want it to continue.

But we also have concerns about Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic.  Its presence has grown dramatically in recent years with the establishments of new Arctic commands, new Arctic brigades, refurbished airfields and other infrastructure, deep water ports, new military bases along its Arctic coastline, an effort to establish air defense and coastal missile systems, early warning radars, and a variety of other things along the Arctic coastline.  We’ve seen an enhanced ops tempo of the Russian military in the Arctic, including last October one of the largest Russian military exercises in the Arctic since the end of the Cold War.  So there is some genuine and legitimate concern there on the part of the United States and our allies and partners about that behavior in the Arctic.

China is a bit of a different challenge.  It claims that its interests in the Arctic are focused on access to natural resources and the opportunities offered by Arctic sea routes for shipping.  And as you all probably know, it outlined plans in 2018 to develop a Polar Silk Road, claimed it was a near-Arctic state, and signaled its intention to play a more active role in Arctic governance.  We have found this disconcerting because the PRC’s behavior outside the Arctic, it often disregards international norms, as it has in the South China Sea, for example.  And if I can quote Secretary Pompeo, he said this last year in May of 2019 in Finland: “There are only Arctic states and non-Arctic states.”  There are – “No third category exists,” so we do not accept Beijing’s claims to be a near-Artic state.

And we’ve also seen across the globe that China’s soft-power tools often have a soft edge when deployed by the PRC.  It’s weaponized its state capitalism in an effort to secure control of critical infrastructure such as ports and telecommunications networks.  It’s demonstrated a willingness to use coercion and influence operations and other methods to get what it wants, including in the Arctic.  The recent experience of the Faroe Islands over the threats to drop a trade agreement because the Faroese did not sign a 5G contract with Huawei is just one example.  So their behavior, the PRC’s behavior over the last decade underscores that we can’t necessarily assume its good intentions with regards to its activities in the Arctic.

Now having said all that, I want to go back to what I said at the beginning of my brief because I think it often gets lost.  In acknowledging that we have to moderate our posture because of global geopolitical changes, we are not saying and have not said – in fact the Secretary has said the exact opposite – that the work we are doing with Arctic states, the work that we are doing collaboratively internationally on environmental challenges, on sustainable development, on search and rescue, on clean-up of oil spills, all of that is continuing, should continue, and is an important and critical part of our Arctic policy and Arctic agenda. And it’s in that context, the work that we’re doing in those areas and of course the challenges we see emerging in the geopolitical scene that we are seeking to enhance our engagement and our work right across the Arctic, not just in Greenland but in other parts – in other Arctic states as well.

Which brings me to Nuuk.  We have been, as everyone knows, an Arctic nation for 150 years, so it’s not new that we’re engaged in the Arctic, and we are pretty excited about the prospects of reopening our consulate in Nuuk later this summer.  The first consulate was put – was in place from 1940 to 1953.  The backstory here is that during World War II after Denmark fell to the Nazis, the Danish ambassador to the United States wanted to see and ensured there was continued cooperation with America to help Greenland stay out of Hitler’s hands.  That’s how Greenland became in part a self-regulating territory.  And throughout the war, of course – throughout World War II Greenland was of tremendous strategic importance to us.

After the war, the new Danish Government adopted and ratified the wartime agreement between the United States and Greenland that to this – that remains in place to this day and is the legal basis for our – the American Thule Air Force Base in the northeast – excuse me, the northwest of Greenland.  And the scientific cooperation that we started during World War II also continues to this day.  The United States National Science Foundation invests as much as $15 million each year in its Greenland-based research programs and supports more than 50 research projects there, and literally hundreds of U.S. researchers travel to Greenland every year conducting research with international partners that benefit Americans, Greenlanders, Danes, and the entire global community.

So the opening of our consulate in Nuuk will be both the culmination of a process of working with the Greenlanders and the Danes that looks to build on our decades of cooperation, and in some ways it’s also a new beginning.  It’s an expansion of our investment in that relationship that we – that looks forward to deeper security, deeper economic and deeper people-people – people-to-people ties between the United States, Greenland, and the Kingdom of Denmark.

I want to stress at this point that we have been working very closely with the Government of Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark as we move forward in this process.  The government – the Kingdom of Denmark approved the opening of the consulate in December of 2019, so it wasn’t yesterday, it was last year.  We have signed agreements that provide for cooperation in specific areas and development assistance in specific areas – last year in mining and minerals, for example, and I’ll come back to that.

So what you’re seeing now is something that’s been worked on between the two governments, and we’ve consulted closely for well over a year.  And it’s all, as I said at the beginning of the brief, part of our effort to continue to work with our partners, including on the ground in Greenland, to ensure that the region remains free from conflict and that where nations – when nations are acting in the Arctic, they act responsibly; where energy and economic resources are developed, they are developed in a sustainable and transparent manner and in ways that respect the environment and the interests and cultures of indigenous people.  Those goals haven’t changed.  Our efforts to work towards them are going to be intensified by our presence in Nuuk.

Our goal is to be the partner of choice for Arctic states, and our – and including in Greenland.  We want to increase our engagements across the region for just that reason.  It’s good old-fashioned diplomatic tradecraft, if I can put it that way.  And as part of that effort, we’ve developed, again, in consultation with the Kingdom of Denmark and the Government of Greenland, a $12.1 million funding package to sort of jumpstart this new beginning – this rebirth, if you will – of our engagement in Greenland, and it includes some assistance in a few different areas, and I’m going to be very quick and then I’ll stop and answer questions.

Energy – some assistance in the energy and national resource development areas.  This goes back to what I said earlier.  We signed a couple memoranda with a couple Greenlandic ministries in June of last year, and our goal here is to support their efforts to encourage competitive and transparent investment by companies, promote sound mining and energy sector governance, and advance the use of new energy technologies and renewable energy in towns and settlements in Greenland.

The second piece of this is going to involve strengthening educational and people-to-people ties.  Specifically, we hope to have a university education capacity-building program that will focus on the sectors of tourism and hospitality development and sustainable land and fisheries management, and these areas were focused on for a reason.  I mean, much of Greenland’s current prosperity is based in land use and fisheries management, and they’re looking to the future in developing their tourism industry.  They see themselves as the leading high-adventure tourist destination in coming years, and they’re looking for support to be able to develop the infrastructure and the capacities to realize the economic benefits to the people of Greenland – to the government and people of Greenland.

And then the last area is we’re going to take a look – and this builds on what I just said, but it’s not focused just on education, per se – looking at opportunities to develop economic – to advance economic opportunities through tourism and the development of – sustainable development of rural communities.

So I’ll stop there because I’ve been talking for almost 20 minutes, and I imagine you will have questions for me, and I’ll be happy to try to answer those.

OPERATOR:  And once again, if you have a question, please press 1 then 0.

MODERATOR:  For our first question, can you open the line of Nick Wadhams, please?

QUESTION:  Thank you.  [Senior State Department Official], the thing you obviously haven’t mentioned is the President’s own confirmed interest in buying Greenland, which he talked about prior to canceling a trip there last year.  Can you talk about how this fits into that strategy and address the notion that by contributing this money now, you’re paving the way for a potential purchase of Greenland down the line?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, let me start by saying I don’t think anyone should presume that the provision of assistance in any of these areas is designed to pave the way to purchase Greenland.  We provide this type of assistance around the world every day in many, many countries.  And our intentions here are to deepen the partnership that exists already between the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland, and the United States.

Yes, we have interests.  I highlighted those at the top of the brief to ensure that the region is one that’s characterized by respect for national sovereignty, a rules-based order, constructive engagement to address our shared economic, scientific, and environmental challenges.  And yes, we believe the United States, in partnership with the Kingdom of Denmark and other Western Arctic states, are best positioned to be able to advance those goals and to keep the region one that’s free from conflict, as it has been for years.

And unfortunately, that is not the agenda that some of our – some of the other geopolitical players, notably China, necessarily has.  And you can see that in the way they’ve behaved in other parts of the world, whether it’s the South China Sea or Sri Lanka or Djibouti or elsewhere.

So I think it’s also a recognition of the importance of Greenland to the United States security.  I mean, Thule Air Force Base has been there for a long time and it provides an important – plays an important part in the defense of the United States, and it plays an important part in the defense of NATO and our NATO allies.  I mean, Greenland’s a critical part of the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap, which is increasingly important to us again as it was in an earlier period, in part because of what Russia has been doing in terms of its aggression in Europe and its buildup of military forces in the High North and in the Arctic.  We need to be in a position with our allies to be able to ensure that we can cross the Atlantic in the event of a crisis.

So I think what we’re doing here is – again, it’s good, old-fashioned diplomatic tradecraft designed to enhance our engagement.  I mean, presence matters.  It’s easier to have good relationships and to communicate when you’re in – when you are someplace on the ground.  And it’s smart politics for our allies and for the people of the United States.

QUESTION:  Can I just add one quick follow-up?  I mean, why not then just give the money to the Government of Denmark for use in Greenland?  Why give the money to Greenland directly and then – does the U.S. – I mean, if you could just tell us, point blank, does the U.S. still have any interest in buying Greenland?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  This assistance is going to be administered in the same way that any assistance we would provide to any country around the world is going to be administered.  So in other words, USAID will be involved in administering some of it, the Department of State will be involved in administering some of it, the Department of Interior and Commerce will be involved in administering some of it.  And they will go about that in the same way that they do managing other programs globally.  There’s no plan or interagency process underway involving the purchase of Greenland.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  For our next question, can you open the line of Joel Gehrke and can you mute lines after the question so we can let everyone have a chance to ask?

QUESTION:  Hi, thanks for doing this.  Can you hear me?


QUESTION:  Cool.  You mentioned wanting to be the partner of choice.  I wonder, are there any specific choices that you hope Greenland or the Faroe Islands will make involving this aid?  Will you be offering any specific aid proposals that might offset or neutralize the appeal of any other Chinese or Russian proposals?  We know, for instance, that the Faroe Islands have been under pressure pertaining to 5G and Huawei, but maybe there are other similar projects or analogous projects across the spectrum.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, let me talk about this in the context of Greenland because we’re not – I’m not talking about an assistance program for the Faroes right now.  I’m talking about an assistance program for Greenland.

But look, it is no secret the way China operates, right?  And they have tried in the past to – what’s the word I’m looking for – wiggle their way into Greenland in unhelpful ways by acquiring critical infrastructure that would be problematic for the United States and our NATO allies and, of course, the Kingdom of Denmark.  That includes efforts to purchase in 2016 Gronnedal, which is the old American naval base there constructed in 1942 to protect our flight routes in World War II.  The Kingdom of Denmark shut down that deal.  And more recently in 2018, an effort to get involved in the airport construction in Greenland in three locations.

Now, it’s – the hook or the wedge issue that the Chinese used was the Greenlanders’ interest in further developing their tourism industry.  I mentioned earlier that they see themselves as the sort of high-adventure tourist destination of the coming decades, and it’s a gorgeous place.  I can understand why they think that.

That’s an admirable goal to want to develop your high-end, low-impact tourist industry to build prosperity for your publics, but as we’ve learned – and I’ve served in Africa; I’ve seen this in Africa – if you have investments that aren’t transparent, if you have investments that are too good to be true, if you have corrupt practices associated with them, as is often the case with the way the Chinese go about pursuing infrastructure investments, then you’re not going to get the promised development and you’re going to find yourself worse off.  And in the case of the United States – and I’m sure – in the case of the United States, we don’t want to see that happen because a) it’s bad and b) it would not be in our interest for China to secure control of critical infrastructure in a place like Greenland any more than it’s in our interest – and I mentioned this earlier – to see China secure control of critical ports in Europe or 5G communication networks.  And the Secretary has spoken often and eloquently about both those.

MODERATOR:  Okay, next question.  Can we go to – let’s hear from Humeyra.

QUESTION:  Hello.  Thank you.  You talk about – you also talk about helping Greenland reach its great potential.  This is something that was brought up by various U.S. officials before: opening up markets, use the untapped oil and gas and minerals resources.  But some other people believe that the major issue of that region has been climate change.  I’m just curious:  How will the U.S., a country that has withdrawn from the Paris agreement, will ensure that the issue of global warming in that region does not take a back seat, and that it wouldn’t become all about these – tapping these resources?  What kind of measures would you put in place that that wouldn’t be the case?  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Yeah, let me take the second question first and then turn back to the first question.  Part of the objective of the energy and natural resource assistance we’re providing, which is an outgrowth of these memorandums we signed in June 2019 between the U.S. and two of Greenland’s ministries – the ministry of mineral resources and the ministry of industry, energy, and research – is to ensure that the development of these natural resources proceeds in a way that is competitive, it’s transparent, there’s sound mining and energy sector governance in place so that the potential for problems that could – would be associated with fly-by-night companies, shady investors, inappropriate – or corruption or bad practices on governance, safety, environmental rules are – would be avoided.  And this isn’t – this is something that I think is going to have a positive impact on the development of those sectors in Greenland and ensure that when they do develop – and they will develop – they’ll develop in a manner that’s consistent with the best practices I outlined, and in ways that are environmentally sound and reflect sound energy governance.

Now, this – to go back to the first part of your question, I mean, the United States is continuing to invest, through the National Science Foundation and others, literally millions of dollars every year into research designed to take a look at the Arctic system, how it’s developing, what the changes to the ecosystem mean for the region’s built, social, and natural environment, and contributing the – our data and our findings to the global effort to obtain a better understanding of this change, whether it’s to the Greenland ice sheet or to the extent of sea ice.  And so that’s going to continue.  In fact, that’s not just happening there, it’s happening in other parts of the government as well – the U.S. Navy, for example.

So that’s all part and has been part of the work we’ve been doing through the Arctic Council and bilaterally with our Arctic partners.  More recently we – an agreement on scientific collaboration and cooperation came into force that had been negotiated by the Arctic Council, and we were one of the lead – we were one of the lead players in that negotiation.  We were also very involved in recent negotiations to conclude an agreement involving a moratorium on fishing in the central Arctic Ocean, in part because we wanted to ensure that we didn’t see resource competition develop in a way that was environmentally unsound.

So we are doing these things.  I think this gets lost oftentimes when we talk about geopolitics.  Geopolitics matters, so we are talking about it, but we’re not changing or walking away from any of the other work that we’ve been doing in terms of our collaboration with other Arctic states, and we expect that to continue in Greenland as well.

MODERATOR:  Okay, next question.  Can you open the line of Robbie Gramer?

QUESTION:  Hey, can you hear me?


QUESTION:  Great.  Thanks so much for doing this.  You hinted at this before, but some Danish MPs that support the minority government have expressed anger directly at Ambassador Sands recently – a recent op-ed saying there’s a perception that the U.S. is trying to cause a rift between Nuuk and Copenhagen.  So can you respond to those criticisms directly?  And also, can you give us some specifics on the opening of the consulate, even ballpark, the size of the consulate, when you expect it’ll be open?  Thanks.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Sure.  Let me take the second question first.  We hope – we have already a Greenland – a Greenlandic affairs officer assigned to our embassy in Copenhagen, and he goes back and forth right now between – not now because there’s not much travel allowed now, but between Copenhagen and Nuuk and travels around Greenland.  He’s established over the last year a lot of really impressive connections and ties and done a lot of traveling to help us – to help gain a better understanding of the people and the place.  He – we would like to move him permanently to Greenland in late May, early June.

I have to be honest:  I think that the – this may be affected by the COVID situation.  I don’t want to tell you – I don’t want to give you a date and then miss it and then be held to a deadline that is impossible in the current environment, but by summer we should have him in place.  We anticipate assigning another officer there.  They should, we hope, arrive either this summer or later in the year, and we’re beginning the process of hiring some local staff.  We hope to have five at the beginning.  We have signed an agreement with the Joint Arctic Command in Greenland, which is the Danish Joint Arctic Command, Danish military Joint Arctic Command.  They’re going to temporarily house us.  Again, this is all with the collaboration and partnership of both the Government of Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark.  We are doing this – we have been hand in glove on this for months and months now.

And we’re also looking at a permanent facility that we could move into.  I don’t want to predict when that will happen because these things take time, but we do have clear plans and they’re well in train.  So if the health – global health environment clears up enough, we may be able to do something more festive later in the year, but we’ll have to sort of wait and see.

So that’s the answer to your second question, and I’m – now I’m struggling to remember what the first was.  If you could just repeat it, I would appreciate it.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  (Off-mike.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Oh, the article.  I’m sorry, the op-ed.  Yeah, the op-ed.  Yeah, the – well, look, I mean, first of all – I mean, Carla Sands is a hardworking, talented ambassador who enjoys a great deal of respect and regard by folks back here in the department.  I want to start by saying that.  Second, I’ve read the op-ed.  I’m not sure what everyone is all worked up about or why people are upset.  But third, having said that, Denmark, like the United States, is a democratic society with a broad range of political views, and I would expect people to think it’s a wonderful op-ed, and I would expect people to think it’s a terrible op-ed in the same way that I get a similar set of reactions in the United States ranging from positive to negative on any other issue.

So I don’t read too much into that and I don’t think the media should.  I think when I see this from my perch, what I have seen – and it’s because I’ve worked it for the last year – a tremendous partnership between the United States and the Government of Greenland.  Foreign Minister Kofod made a statement in December of 2019 when they approved the consulate, something to the effect that they welcomed this, they were pleased by it, it provides an opportunity for us to deepen our relationship and to work more closely with the Greenlanders.  So it’s – I don’t see this as divisive and I think – I don’t think the characterizations of the op-ed or the goals are accurate.

MODERATOR:  Next question, Nike.  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  Sure.  Thank you very much for this phone call.  I apologize if this has been addressed before, but do you see China takes advantage of the COVID-19 and increase its activity in the Arctic?  And if the answer is yes, could you please provide some specifics?  Thanks.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, I’m not going to get into the issue of China’s behavior on COVID-19, whether it has to do with its lack of transparency at the beginning of this process or otherwise.  There are other experts in the United States Government on China’s behavior with regard to the pandemic, its behavior with regard to WHO and elsewhere.  So I’m sorry to say this, but I think I’m going to have to pass on the question.

QUESTION:  No, I’m asking do you see China increase its activity in the Arctic by – when countries are scrambling to combat COVID-19.  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, I guess I’m going to come back at a question with you.  I’m not sure what you mean by increase its activities in the Arctic.  Do you have some specific example in mind that you’re seeking a reaction from me on or just a general observation that you believe this is happening and you want to know how the United States would react to it?

QUESTION:  No, I’m just asking a general – your observation, if you see China taking advantage of the COVID-19 and increase its activities in the Arctic, and if yes, do you have a specific?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, I’m going to avoid answering a hypothetical here.  I don’t know how China is going to react as – over the next few months as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds or what actions it’s going to take.  I will go back to original – a point I made at the front end of the briefing, which is that unfortunately we have seen in the past from the way the Chinese Government, the People’s Republic of China has behaved globally, its soft power tools generally have a sharp edge.  As I said earlier, they’ve weaponized their state capitalism in an effort to secure control of critical infrastructure and dual-use infrastructure.  They’ve demonstrated a willingness to use coercion and influence operations and other methods to get what it wants.  I’ve cited the example of the activities in the Faroe Islands.  There have also been – there’s also been behavior by the PRC vis-a-vis Norway with regards to its efforts to protect the integrity of the Svalbard Treaty and ensure that that island remains a base for only legitimate scientific research.

So there’s a pattern here and we are concerned by it and we certainly don’t want to see it happen, not just in the Arctic but quite frankly globally.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  I think we have time for maybe one or two more.  Let’s go to Lara Jakes.

QUESTION:  Hi there.  Humeyra kind of touched on this already, but I’m just wondering if I can ask this point blank:  In the $12 million package that we’re talking about for Greenland, is there anything that would offset the Greenland ice loss?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Is there anything designed to offset Greenland’s ice loss?

QUESTION:  Correct.


QUESTION:  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Last question.  We’ll go to the line of Katrina Manson.

QUESTION:  Thanks very much.  I was wondering if you could give us a little bit of insight into how you managed the relationship with the Kingdom of Denmark after Mr. Trump canceled his trip, and obviously there had been quite a bit of concern, including coming from government officials, about what he’d said.  How did you develop that relationship so that you could open this consulate with Denmark’s support?  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Look, we have a very close relationship with the Kingdom of Denmark and with Greenland that goes back decades, and there have been periods where one or the other side has been unhappy with the position or statement by the other, and they’ve never – it’s never gotten in the way of our ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively as allies, as transatlantic partners, in the international arena on a whole range of issues.  And this is – I mean, I’m not trying to be flippant.  This is no different.  The relationship between the leaders is good.  The relationship between the Secretary and his counterpart is good.  We have excellent working relationships on the ground with the Government of Greenland.  So there wasn’t anything broken there for us to fix.  I guess I would challenge an unspoken premise that there was, because I don’t think that’s true.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thanks, everybody, for dialing in this afternoon.  Thanks to our briefer for taking time out of his schedule today.  And just as a reminder, this is embargoed until tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.  Thank you all for adhering to that embargo.  Have a great day.


This translation is provided as a courtesy and only the original English source should be considered authoritative.
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