Trump’s Denmark snub over Greenland sale ‘annoys’ PM

Europe

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Media captionWatch: Greenland wouldn’t be the first time the US bought territory

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says she is “annoyed” at Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his visit after being told Greenland was not for sale.

“Our preparations were well under way,” she said, adding she had been looking forward to meeting the US president.

Ms Frederiksen reiterated that the island of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, could not be bought.

Mr Trump was scheduled to visit on 2 September at the invitation of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

But last week, he suggested that his administration was interested in buying Greenland – an idea that Ms Frederiksen at the time described as “absurd”.

What has the Danish PM said now?

In a statement to reporters on Wednesday, Ms Frederiksen said the potential sale of Greenland had “clearly been rejected” by the island’s leader, Kim Kielsen, which was “a position I share of course”.

She said despite this, the US was one of Denmark’s closest allies, and that the president’s two-day visit would have been an “opportunity to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US”.

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Media captionThe Danish prime minister underlined her hope for continued strong relations with the US

“This does not change the character of our good relations and we will continue our dialogue on how we can deal with challenges we are facing,” she said, adding that her country’s invitation to visit “remains open”.

“Developments in the Arctic call for further co-operation with the US, Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and I’d like to underline that still stands,” Ms Frederiksen said.

How did we get here?

While praising Denmark as a “very special country”, Mr Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that his planned visit would no longer go ahead because Ms Frederiksen had “no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland”.

Mr Trump had earlier confirmed reports that he was interested in buying Greenland. When asked on Sunday if he would consider trading a US territory for the island, he replied: “Well, a lot of things could be done.”

“Essentially it’s a large real estate deal,” he said.

Then, on Monday, the US president posted an image on social media showing a tall golden skyscraper among the homes of a small village on the island.

The cancellation of what was considered an important state visit in Denmark was described as a “farce” by the leader of the populist Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl.

“What is this man thinking of though? And with grounds that are worthy of an April Fools’ joke,” he wrote in a tweet.

Danish Conservative MP Rasmus Jarlov accused Mr Trump of lacking respect for his country in a tweet on Wednesday.

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