Denmark’s Prime Minister says the abrupt postponement of a State visit by United States President Donald Trump will not affect cooperation between the two countries.
Danes reacted with surprise on Wednesday after a tweet overnight by President Trump postponing the visit over the refusal of his Danish counterpart to discuss the possible sale of Greenland to the United States.
Denmark’s Head of State Queen Margrethe II extended the invite to the President and First Lady with Trump’s actions now being viewed in the Scandinavian country as a snub.
The tweet from the President follows earlier reports that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen referred to the idea of purchasing Greenland – an autonomous territory of Denmark – as an absurd discussion.
Trump then fired off a tweet on Tuesday night saying that because of the Prime Minister’s comments that she had no interest in discussing the sale of Greenland, the visit was off.
Just hours before the President’s tweet, there was one from the United States Ambassador in Copenhagen saying the country was ready for the President’s visit, calling Denmark a partner, ally and friend.
Danish PM Mette Frederiksen says:”It is with regret and surprise that I received the news that US President Donald Trump has cancelled his state visit to Denmark on the second and third of September.”
“I had been looking forward to the visit, our preparations were well underway. It was an opportunity, I think, to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship with the US and who remains one of Denmark’s closest allies.”
“I was looking forward to having a dialogue on the many shared interests Denmark has with US.”
Greenland is a massive island between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans and is considered a strategic location for military and surveillance purposes.
The President’s latest reaction was even more surprising after he’d – just days earlier – said his proposed visit to Denmark was not about Greenland at all and that it was not his number one issue.
“Well, a lot of things could be done. Essentially it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things could be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they are losing almost $700-million a year carrying it.”
“So, they carry it at a great loss. And, strategically for the United States, it would be nice and we are a big ally of Denmark and we help Denmark and we protect Denmark and we will. In fact, I’m supposed to stop, I’m thinking about going there.”
“I am not necessarily definitely going there, but I may be going. We are going to Poland and we may be going to Denmark, not for this reason at all. But, we are looking at it. It’s not number one on the burner.”
Astonishment is how Danes greeted the news, with some welcoming the cancellation.
Hans Christian says: “I think it’s an excellent idea (that the visit is cancelled) for Denmark because we don’t own Greenland and it’s absurd that he thinks that he can buy another country.”
Isabell Corsky: “No, I don’t think he should be able to because I think he doesn’t know what he’s doing and I don’t know what he’s going to do with Greenland, and like it’s just scary.”
American tourist in Copenhagen Heidi Davis says: “I am embarrassed because I think when you commit to a plan and you agree to come and obviously Denmark has spent some time planning and putting money into this, then to cancel it, for any reason, it better be for a really important reason and to me it sounds like he cancelled because his feelings were hurt.”
The Danish Royal Palace expressed surprise through a spokesperson that had no further comment.
Local media headlines in Denmark referred to the relationship between the two countries as ice cold or at a freezing point as a result of President Trump’s snub.
But Prime Minister Frederiksen maintains the two nations are closely connected, that the United States remains an important NATO ally and that cooperation will continue to expand.
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