June 27, 2022

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Canada and Denmark end decades-old dispute over barren rocks in the Arctic | North Pole

Some have called it a “false confrontation”, while others have called it a diplomatic afterthought. Now, however, the so-called “whiskey war”, which was never a conflict at all, has finally been resolved by the formal partition of a small, barren island in the Arctic between Canada and Denmark.

It is located in the Kennedy Channel of the Nares Strait between the northwest coast of the Danish semi-autonomous region. green land And Canada’s Ellesmere Island, the half-square-mile uninhabited Hans Island doesn’t contain mineral resources or anything else of interest unless you’re a visiting seabird.

Shaped like a muffin and surrounded by cliffs, it was for centuries an Inuit hunting ground. Crucially, however, it has been in the center protracted border dispute Between Canada and Denmark – via the Greenland Local Government – with Copenhagen’s claim that geological evidence suggests Hans Island is part of Greenland – a claim rejected by Ottawa.

Aerial view of Hans Island
Aerial view of Hans Island. Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images

Canada and Denmark agreed in 1973 to create a border across the Nars Strait, halfway between Greenland and Canada. But they could not agree on which country would have sovereignty over Hans Island, which lies about 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) south of the North Pole. In the end they decided to solve the ownership issue later.

This has prompted largely advocacy between the parties, including ads posted on Google to promote their claims, and flag-raising stunts.

The signal for the “whiskey war” came after the Danish Minister for Greenland Affairs raised the Danish flag on the island in 1984, buried a bottle of Danish liquor at the base of the flagpole and left a note that read: “Welcome to Danish Island.”

Then the Canadians planted their flag and left a bottle of Canadian brandy. Since then, countries have alternately raised their flags and left bottles of different spirits in alternating motions.

a map

In 2002, Nana Flensburg was part of a Danish military crew that stood on the cliff to perform a flag-raising ceremony. “Among the stones in the cairns are many bottles, glasses, etc. with documents that reported on previous visits to the island,” she was quoted by Politiken on Tuesday as saying in her diary.

At the height of the rivalry, the two sides resorted to buying ads on Google to make their claim after Denmark’s announcement it will be sent A letter of protest against a visit in 2005 by the then Canadian Minister of Defense, Bill Graham.

Graham stated that Canada had always owned the island, prompting Denmark to respond: “Hans Island is our island.” Some Canadians in turn suggested a boycott of Danish pastries, in an echo of the way some Americans rejected “fried potatoes” when France refused to join coalition forces in Iraq.

Now the row is ending, with the two countries agreeing to divide the tiny island between them under a deal to be signed later on Tuesday.

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“It sends a clear signal that it is possible to resolve border disputes…in a practical and peaceful way, with all parties becoming winners,” said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod. He said it was an “important signal now that there is a lot of war and turmoil in the world.”

The agreement will enter into force after the completion of the internal procedures of the two countries. In Denmark, Parliament must give its approval to the agreement.

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