COPENHAGEN – Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen has dismissed there being a diplomatic crisis with the United States after President Donald Trump postponed a trip to the Scandinavian country over a controversial spat involving a possible purchase of the autonomous region of Greenland.
“Of course I am sorry and I am surprised that the president of the United States has canceled his visit,” Fredriksen said in a press conference.
The Danish PM said that there was not a diplomatic crisis between the Scandinavian state and the US, adding that reinforcing cooperation between the two, especially when it came to the Arctic, was essential.
Frederiksen said that the United States is one of the countries with which Denmark has a closer relationship and that it is its “most important ally in security policy.”
Neither country is interested in a crisis, the prime minister continued, although she reiterated her position on the Greenland issue.
“There has been a discussion about a potential sale of Greenland.
“That possibility has been rejected by Greenlandic President Kim Kielsen. And I support that rejection,” said Frederiksen, who arrived to Denmark on Wednesday after participating in a meeting of the Nordic Council in Iceland.
The US president was scheduled to visit Denmark on Sept. 2 and last week made his desire to purchase the vast island of Greenland, which is flanked by the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, public.
On Sunday, Denmark’s PM said the resource-rich island was not for sale.
“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,” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump had been invited to Denmark by Queen Margrethe II and a royal spokesperson has expressed the Royal Family’s “surprise” over the news he had postponed his trip.
Many leading Danish politicians took to social media Wednesday morning to criticize Trump’s handling of the matter.
“Trump lives on another planet. Self-sufficient and disrespectful,” tweeted Pernille Skipper, spokesperson for the Red-Green Alliance.
Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt also shared her bemusement over the issue.
“So the POTUS has canceled 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, labeling 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,” the Dane 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.
Trump’s visit to Denmark would have been his last one in his whistlestop tour of Europe.
He is expected to join the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France, between Aug. 24-26 and will then visit Poland from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.