US plans major upgrade of northernmost military base – media — Analysis
This comes amid Washington’s growing concern over Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic region
On Monday, the US announced plans to invest billions in Arctic defense and modernizing its Thule Base in Greenland. This was reported by Danish newspaper Berlingske, which cited a US military document. It claimed that neither the Greenlandic nor Danish authorities were informed about the plans.
According to the outlet, the US has given the green light to “significant investments” into its northernmost base amid “More aggressive” behavior from Russia. Berlingske stated, citing a US Air Force statement that the money would be used for upgrading the old infrastructure at Thule. The American Embassy in Copenhagen declined to provide further information and Berlingske cited a statement from the US Air Force.
The plans, Berlingske claimed, came as a surprise to the Danish parliament and the Greenlandic government, as the United States is supposed to “Consult and Inform” both nations regarding any significant changes to its military operations in Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark.
“We are the country.” Pipaluk Lynge Rasmussen, a chairman of the foreign and security committee in the Greenlandic parliament was quoted as saying.
This news follows shortly after US Navy and Marine Corps declared that they will be expanding their operations in Arctic.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck was the US commander for the North Command and North American Aerospace. He stated that, in light of increasing activity from Russia, China, and other countries in the Arctic, the Arctic plays an important role in America’s counter-terrorism strategy.
Thule air base lies about 750 miles (1207 km) north of the Arctic Circle and 946 miles (1522 km) from the North Pole on the world’s largest island. In the Second World War, it was initially established to guard the Danish colonies on Greenland. Since then, it’s been mostly used to monitor and track the ballistic missiles.
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