In 1984, Denmark’s minister of Greenland affairs raised a Danish flag on the island, buried a bottle of Danish schnapps at the base of the flagpole and left a note saying, “Welcome to the Danish island.” Canadians then planted their own flag and left a bottle of Canadian brandy. Since then, the countries have in turns hoisted their flags and left bottles of various spirits in a sort of tot-for-tot dispute.
A territorial dispute between Denmark and Canada over a barren and uninhabited rock in the Arctic that has led to decades of friendly friction has come to an end, with the two countries agreeing on Tuesday to divide the tiny island between them, AP reports.
Under the agreement, a border will be drawn across the 1.3-square-kilometer (half-square-mile) Hans Island in the waterway between the northwestern coast of the semi-autonomous Danish territory of Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The rock has no known mineral reserves of value.
“It sends a clear signal that it is possible to resolve border disputes … in a pragmatic and peaceful way, where the all parties become winners,” said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod. He said it was “an important signal now that there is much war and unrest in the world.”
Canada and Denmark agreed in 1973 to create a border through Nares Strait, halfway between Greenland and Canada. But they were unable to agree which country would have sovereignty over Hans Island, which lies about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) south of the North Pole. In the end, they decided to work out the question of ownership later.
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