Trump cancels Denmark trip over Greenland 'sale' row

Copenhagen, Aug 21 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has cancelled a state visit to Denmark after the nation's Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen said Greenland was not for sale to the US. Trump's visit was scheduled on September 2, at the invitation of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "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."

Last week Trump had suggested that the US was interested in buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. When Trump was 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 had said.

Danish politicians have launched a scathing critique of Trump for cancelling his visit to the Scandinavian country, Efe news reported.

Many leading Danish politicians have taken to social media to criticise Trump's handling of the matter.

"Trump lives on another planet. Self-sufficient and disrespectful" Pernille Skipper, spokesperson for the Red-Green Alliance, tweeted.

Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning also shared her bemusement over the issue.

"So the POTUS has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland. Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark," she tweeted.

The opposition also shared its disbelief over the spat with the vice president of the liberal Venstre Party and former foreign affairs minister, Kristian Jensen, labelling it a diplomatic crisis.

"Total chaos with Donald Trump and cancellation of the state visit to Denmark. It has gone from a great opportunity for enhanced dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis. Everyone should know that Greenland is not for sale," Jensen said.

"Need to get the cooperation back on track," he added.

Rasmus Jarlov, conservative spokesman for Greenland affairs, like many others, said Trump's actions were insulting.

"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. Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect," Jarlov shared on social media.

Søren Espersen, a Danish People's Party MP, journalist and author, had three days ago labelled the US President as mad.

"Does anyone out there know if the government in Poland has definitively refused the US takeover of northern Poland? Otherwise, watch out for Warsaw when Donald Trump lands, because he's -- after the Greenland fiasco -- roaring hungry in search of a new Arctic," Espersen said.

--IANS

dpb/bg

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