Trump cancels Denmark visit amid spat over sale of Greenland

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a state visit to Denmark after the nation’s prime minister said Greenland was not for sale to the US.

The president was scheduled to visit on 2 September, at the invitation of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

Then last week Mr Trump suggested the US was interested in buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

Danish PM Mette Frederiksen described the suggestion as “absurd” and said she hoped Mr Trump was not being serious.

Ms Frederiksen is due to give a statement later on Wednesday.

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”.

The cancellation was confirmed by a White House spokesman.

The Danish royal house also confirmed it had been informed of the cancellation. The house’s head of communications, Lene Balleby, told the BBC “it was definitely a surprise”.

Just hours before Mr Trump announced the cancellation, the US ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, tweeted: “Denmark is ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend.”

  • Greenland: What you need to know

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.

How have Greenland and Denmark reacted?

Mr Trump’s suggested purchase was dismissed by Greenlandic and Danish officials. “Greenland is not for sale, but Greenland is open for trade and co-operation with other countries, including the USA,” said the territory’s premier, Kim Kielsen.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister, tweeted: “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke.”

Soren Espersen, foreign affairs spokesman for the populist Danish People’s Party, told national broadcaster DR: “If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof that he has gone mad.”

Danish Conservative MP Rasmus Jarlov, who earlier said that “of all things that are not going to happen, this is the most unlikely”, accused Mr Trump of lacking respect for his country in a tweet on Wednesday.

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