Global Policy Forum

Denmark to Sign US Airbase Deal


The US and Denmark are to sign a deal to upgrade a radar base in Greenland to support the US's controversial missile defence programme.

August 6, 2004

The agreement to modernise the Thule airbase in north-west Greenland is considered an essential part of Washington's plans. US President George W Bush made the project a priority after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Critics of the missile shield project have questioned its cost and viability.

Local opposition

US Secretary of State Colin Powell is travelling to Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, to meet with his Danish and Greenland counterparts in the south of the island. Greenland had originally opposed the agreement, which only covers the modernisation of Thule's radar installations.

A deal was reached this May, but further negotiations would be needed for the US to use the radar in their missile defence system, Greenland's foreign affairs minister Josef Motzfeldt told the AFP news agency. "Greenland's clear position is that we are opposed to a development that can threaten world peace and relaunch a new arms race," he said. The Thule airbase is located about 1,500km (930 miles) south of the North Pole. It was built in the 1950s and served as a listening post during the Cold War.The base has been at the centre of a long-running legal battle between local Inuit and the US government. The indigenous community was forced from their land around the base as it expanded in 1953.

'Son of Star Wars'

The US's missile defence programme's development is in its early stages. Eventually, the so-called Son of Star Wars programme is meant to have the ability to track and destroy incoming ballistic missiles through advanced radar systems. The Pentagon plans to develop sea-based interceptors, fit lasers to planes and to explore the use of firing rockets from space. Australia, South Korea, Japan, Britain and Israel are also working with the US on the project.

More Information on Empire?
More Information on US Military Expansion and Intervention


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.