Trump Cancels Denmark Visit After Learning Greenland Is Not For Sale

August 21, 2019 by TWN Staff

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will not visit Denmark next month, after the Danish prime minister rebuffed his proposal to buy Greenland.

Trump announced his decision by tweet after the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed the notion of selling the semi-autonomous territory to the U.S. as “an absurd discussion.”

“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but 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 said.

The decision caught Denmark’s royal palace by “surprise.” Lene Balleby, a spokeswoman for the palace told The Associated Press the household, which formally had invited Trump to visit Denmark Sep. 2 and 3 as part of a European trip, had no further comments.

Prime Minister Frederiksen said during a meeting with reporters that she too was surprised and disappointed by the president’s decision.

Frederiksen told reporters that “the United States is one of our closest allies” and “the invitation for a stronger strategic cooperation with the Americans in the Arctic is still open.”

But she also said she is standing by the government head of Greenland, the semi-autonomous Danish territory that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to buy.

Frederiksen said “a discussion about a potential sale of Greenland has been put forward. It has been rejected by Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen, and I fully stand behind that rejection.”

Frederiksen also said relations between Copenhagen and Washington “are not in any crisis in my opinion.”

“I don’t believe that the cancellation should have any influence on other matters,” she said.

Trump had said Sunday that he was interested in buying Greenland for strategic purposes, but said a purchase was not a priority at this time. Both Frederiksen and Kielsen responded that Greenland is not for sale.

“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,” Trump said. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”

Greenland sits between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. A 1.7-million-square-kilometer  ice sheet covers 80 percent of the island. While retreating ice could uncover a wealth of oil and mineral resources, that’s still a matter of speculation.

To date no oil has been found in the waters off Greenland and conditions, particularly in the winter, when temperatures regularly dropping below minus 30 Celsius (minus 20 Fahrenheit), make looking for it extremely difficult.

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