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Trump cancels visit after Denmark dismisses Greenland sale

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Trump cancels visit after Denmark dismisses Greenland sale
US president Donald Trump, here speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on August 20th, has postponed his state visit to Denmark. Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix
08:18 CEST+02:00
US president Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he is postponing a planned meeting with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after she ruled out selling Greenland to the United States.

"Based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," Trump tweeted.

"The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!" he added.

Trump has been invited by Queen Margrethe to officially visit Denmark, with the state visit scheduled for September 2nd and 3rd.

The US president confirmed Sunday that he was interested in buying Greenland, a self-governing part of Denmark, but said it was not a priority for his administration.

"It's something we talked about," he told reporters.

"The concept came up and I said certainly, strategically it's interesting and we'd be interested, but we'll talk to (Denmark) a little bit," he said, stressing that it was "not number one on the burner" for the government.

When asked if he would consider trading a US territory for Greenland, Trump replied that "a lot of things could be done."

"Essentially, it's a large real estate deal," he said.

Greenland's ministry of foreign affairs insisted Friday the island was ready to talk business, but was not for sale. 

"Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism," it tweeted. 

"We're open for business, not for sale," it added.

Denmark reacted initially with incredulity to last week's reports Trump wanted to buy the icy northern territory.

Frederiksen on Sunday called the idea an “absurd discussion”.

“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish, Greenland is Greenlandic. I sincerely hope this is not something that was meant seriously,” Frederiksen said.

Greenland is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community. It has had an autonomous government since 2009, with Copenhagen determining its foreign policy.

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

 
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