Denmark and Canada will divide the small, uninhabited island in the Arctic known as Hans Island, ending an almost 50-year long ownership spat, in a largely symbolic act of diplomacy designed to avoid tensions in the high North.
The two NATO allies have been engaged in a mostly good-natured squabble over the island, situated at equal distance between Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island, since 1971 when their rival claims came to light.
Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. It leaves Copenhagen to manage certain policy areas, including foreign and security policy.
Canada and Denmark will divide the 1.2 square-kilometre (0.75 square miles) island into two almost equally large parts along a naturally occurring cleft on the rocky outcrop, according to a deal published by the Danish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
Some view the peaceful settlement as a sign of Arctic NATO states moving closer together since Russia’s isolation over its invasion of Ukraine raised security concerns after decades of calm in the region.