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Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement

Danish politicians and commentators have weighed in with their views after US president Donald Trump postponed a state visit to Denmark.

Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement
US president Donald Trump's cancellation of a state visit has been described as insulting by commentators in Denmark.Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The postponement of the visit, scheduled for September 2nd and 3rd, was announced by Trump on Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday Danish time, ostensibly because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen refused to countenance selling Greenland to the US.

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Danish commentators were quick to give their views on Trump’s conduct over the Denmark state visit, in press comments and on social media.

“This is an unprecedented situation. It’s hard to find the right words. Nobody behaves like this on the international stage, least of all an American president,” Thomas Larsen, political commentator with newspaper Berlingske, told Ritzau.

“It’s a heavyweight-class insult. A state visit normally confirms a friendship, a relationship and an alliance between two countries,” Larsen added.

Politicians on Denmark's right were vocal about the issue on Wednesday morning.

“As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe. For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for,” tweeted Rasmus Jarlov, a finance spokesperson with the Conservatives known for posting strident right-wing views on social media.

“Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect,” Jarlov added.

Jarlov’s party colleague Mai Mercado, the former children’s minister, flipped Trump’s tweet postponing the visit.

“The US is a very special country with incredible people, but based on President Trump’s comments on buying Greenland, Denmark will gladly be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for… well, until another President takes office,” Mercado wrote, adding the hashtag #notarealestatedeal.

READ ALSO: Trump confirms interest in buying Greenland, despite Danish dismissals

Søren Espersen, the deputy leader of the populist Danish People’s Party (DF), who had already reacted testily to reports Trump wanted to buy Greenland, tweeted he would rather Trump stay away from Denmark altogether.

“So Mr. Trump- you have now decided to postpone your visit to Denmark. Why not just cancel? We are so busy here with other things…” Espersen wrote.

Former DF party leader and speaker of parliament Pia Kjærsgaard said Trump had insulted Queen Margrethe, who officially invited the president for a state visit to Denmark.

“My goodness… President Trump cancels his visit to Denmark on Twitter because we won’t sell Greenland. Shameful behaviour towards the Danish people and the Queen, who invited him,” Kjærsgaard wrote.

“Total lack of respect and manners,” she added.

Morten Østergaard, leader of the centre-left Social Liberals, said the episode proved “reality was stranger than fantasy”.

“There must have been someone in the US foreign department who could have told Trump the answer (to an offer to buy Greenland) beforehand,” Østergaard wrote.

“This shows, more than ever before, why we should consider the EU countries our closest allies. The man is unreliable,” he added in reference to Trump’s conduct.

Stockholm University journalism professor Christian Christensen noted that Trump now had a full set of ridiculous episodes with Nordic countries (with the possible exception of Iceland).

READ ALSO: Opinion: Denmark should cancel Trump's state visit

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ENVIRONMENT

Greenland passes law banning uranium mining

Greenland's parliament voted Tuesday to ban uranium mining and exploration in the vast Danish territory, following through on a campaign promise from the ruling left-wing party which was elected earlier this year.

Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement.
Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won snap elections in April that were originally triggered by divisions over a controversial uranium and rare earth mining project.

The IA won 12 seats in the 31-seat Greenlandic national assembly, beating its rival Siumut, a social democratic party that had dominated politics in the island territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

On Tuesday 12 MPs in the national assembly voted to ban uranium mining, with nine voting against. 

The IA had campaigned against exploiting the Kuannersuit deposit, which is located in fjords in the island’s south and is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals.

The project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has not yet been officially abandoned.

But French group Orano announced in May it would not launch exploration despite holding permits to do so.

The massive natural riches of the vast island — measuring two million square kilometres, making it larger than Mexico — have been eyed by many, but few projects have been approved.

The island is currently home to two mines: one for anorthosite, whose deposits contain titanium, and one for rubies and pink sapphires.

While Greenland’s local government is not opposed to all mining activities, it has also banned all oil exploration over concerns for the climate and the environment.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Mute Egede said he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement, which Greenland is one of the few countries not to have ratified.

READ ALSO: Greenland seabed scoured for marine diamonds

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