Trump snubs Den­mark over Green­land ‘no’

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Ben Ri­ley-smith US ED­I­TOR

Don­ald Trump, the US pres­i­dent, has can­celled a state visit to Den­mark over its re­fusal to con­sider sell­ing Green­land, an au­ton­o­mous coun­try which is part of the Dan­ish king­dom. Mette Fred­erik­sen, the Dan­ish prime min­is­ter, said she was “dis­ap­pointed” by the de­ci­sion.

DEN­MARK’S po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and royal fam­ily yes­ter­day ex­pressed shock af­ter Don­ald Trump can­celled a state visit to the coun­try over its re­fusal to con­sider sell­ing Green­land.

Mette Fred­erik­sen, the Dan­ish prime min­is­ter, said she was “dis­ap­pointed” by the de­ci­sion, while a spokesman for the royal palace ad­mit­ted it had been taken by “sur­prise”.

Less diplo­matic re­sponses came from for­mer politi­cians and op­po­si­tion fig­ures who said the US pres­i­dent’s be­hav­iour was “grotesque”, “smug” and “dis­re­spect­ful”.

Helle Thorn­ing-sch­midt, the for­mer Dan­ish prime min­is­ter, wrote on Twit­ter: “Is this some sort of joke? Deeply in­sult­ing.”

The out­pour­ing of frus­tra­tion came af­ter Mr Trump made clear that his in­ter­est in buy­ing Green­land, an au­ton­o­mous coun­try which is part of the king­dom of Den­mark, was not a joke.

On Mon­day, Mr Trump ap­peared to play up the comic aspect of his con­sid­er­a­tions, tweet­ing a pic­ture of a vast gold Trump ho­tel, writ­ing: “I prom­ise not to do this to Green­land!” But on Tues­day he said that due to the flat-out re­jec­tion by Den­mark he would be can­celling a trip on Sept 2-3, planned af­ter an in­vi­ta­tion by its royal fam­ily.

“Den­mark is a very spe­cial coun­try with in­cred­i­ble peo­ple, but based on Mette Fred­erik­sen’s com­ments ... I will be post­pon­ing our meet­ing sched­uled in two weeks for an­other time,” he wrote. “The prime min­is­ter was able to save a great deal of ex­pense and ef­fort for both the US and Den­mark by be­ing so di­rect. I thank her for that and look for­ward to reschedul­ing some­time in the fu­ture!” The re­marks clearly indi- cated that the re­fusal to con­sider sell­ing Green­land, a coun­try with a pop­u­la­tion of 56,000 peo­ple, which is mainly cov­ered by an ice sheet, was to blame for the can­cel­la­tion.

Mr Trump had said over the week­end that Green­land’s strate­gic benefits – there is re­newed geopo­lit­i­cal in­ter­est in the Arc­tic as its ice caps melt – and nat­u­ral re­sources made it an al­lur­ing propo­si­tion.

De­fend­ing the can­cel­la­tion yes­ter­day, Mr Trump sug­gested that the way in which Ms Fred­erikse had re­jected his pro­posal was to blame. “I thought that the prime min­is­ter’s state­ment that it was an ‘ab­surd’ idea was nasty,” Mr Trump told re­porters.

Ms Fred­erik­sen, who ear­lier re­sponded “Thank­fully, the time where you buy and sell other coun­tries and pop­u­la­tions is over”, yes­ter­day said: “It is with re­gret and sur­prise that I re­ceived the news that [he] has can­celled his visit.”

She added that prepa­ra­tions for the trip had been “well un­der way”, but “this does not change the char­ac­ter of our good re­la­tions”.

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