Win-win: Canada and Denmark settle Hans Island dispute
Denmark and Canada have signed an agreement settling the territorial dispute over the uninhabited Hans Island in the middle of the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait in the Arctic.
According to the Foreign Ministry of Denmark, Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel will be split between the Canadian territory of Nunavut and Greenland, which is an autonomous territory of Denmark.
The agreement on the division of Hans Island was signed in Ottawa by the foreign ministers of Denmark and Canada as well as the Prime Minister of Greenland. Denmark and Canada will now have a land border.
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod noted that the agreement sends a clear signal that border disputes can be resolved in a pragmatic and peaceful manner with a win-win solution for all parties.
The territorial dispute over Hans Island, an area covering 1.3 sq km, has been going on since 1973, when Denmark and Canada began talks on their maritime border. They put off a decision on the status of the island despite existing territorial claims.
A humorous tradition developed due to the territorial dispute. During visits to the island, the Danish military would leave a bottle of Danish akvavit (a traditional Scandinavian alcoholic drink) there, while the Canadian military would leave a bottle of Canadian whisky and a sign saying “Welcome to Canada.”