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Canada also wants to assert its claim over Hans Island at the entrance to the Northwest Passage. The half-square-mile rock ... for more than 20 years has been a subject of unusually bitter exchanges between [Canada and Denmark].

In 1984, Denmark's minister for Greenland affairs, Tom Hoeyem, caused a stir when he flew in on a chartered helicopter, raised a Danish flag on the island, buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flagpole and left a note saying: "Welcome to the Danish island."

The dispute erupted again two years ago when former Canadian Defense Minister Bill Graham set foot on the rock while Canadian troops hoisted the Maple Leaf flag.

Denmark sent a letter of protest to Ottawa, while Canadians and Danes took out competing Google ads, each proclaiming sovereignty over the rock 680 miles south of the North Pole.

Some Canadians even called for a boycott of Danish pastries.
Eve Fairbanks