Donald Trump has cancelled his trip to Denmark and postponed his meeting with the Danish prime minister after she said that Greenland was not for sale.
Speaking on Sunday during a trip to Greenland, Mette Frederiksen called purchasing the island, a semi-autonomous Danish territory, “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,” he said.
By Tuesday night, the meeting was officially off. “At this time, the visit to Denmark is canceled,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the New York Times.
The change of heart comes after Trump’s proposal to buy Greenland was widely written off as unfeasible and unwelcome. Local residents have called the idea “crazy” and “patronizing”.
Frederiksen, who has been visiting the island to meet its premier, Kim Kielsen, told reporters on Sunday that Greenland could not be sold because it did not belong to Denmark.
“Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant,” she said.
The idea has come up before: the US offered Denmark $100m to buy Greenland in 1946 after the idea of a land swap with Alaska was rejected.
The US later came to an agreement to maintain an airbase in northern Greenland, Thule air force base, that was originally designed as a refueling base for long-range bombers.
During her trip to Greenland, the Danish prime minister said she hoped it was time to leave the joke behind.
“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States,” she said.
Trump has conceded that adding Greenland to his real estate acquisitions is not a priority of his administration.
“Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No 1 on the burner, I can tell you that,” Trump told reporters on Sunday.