News 21 august — 11:30

Trump delays Denmark visit because they won’t talk Greenland sale

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US President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he is postponing a planned meeting with Denmark’s prime minister due to her lack of interest in selling Greenland to the United States, The Times of Israel reports.

“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 tweeted.

“The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!” the US president wrote.

Frederiksen, who was visiting the world’s largest island to meet Premier Kim Kielsen, on Monday told reporters: “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant.”

She reiterated that Greenland is not for sale and called Trump’s idea of buying the semi-autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic from Denmark “an absurd discussion.”

Frederiksen, who became prime minister June 27, was on a two-day trip to Greenland before traveling to nearby Iceland for a meeting of the Nordic prime ministers.

“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,” Frederiksen said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice — asking advisers if it would be possible for the US to acquire the territory.

Trump confirmed Sunday that he was indeed interested in buying Greenland, but said it was not a priority for his administration.

“It’s something we talked about,” he told reporters.

“The concept came up and I said certainly, strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to (Denmark) a little bit,” he said, stressing that it was “not number one on the burner” for the government.

When asked if he would consider trading a US territory for Greenland, Trump replied that “a lot of things could be done.”

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal,” he said.

Denmark colonized the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square kilometer) island in the 18th century. It is home to only about 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.

Greenland’s ministry of foreign affairs insisted Friday the island was ready to talk business, but was not for sale.

“#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism,” it tweeted.

“We’re open for business, not for sale,” it added.

It wouldn’t be the first time an American leader has tried to buy the world’s largest island. In 1946, the US proposed to pay Denmark $100 million to buy Greenland after flirting with the idea of swapping land in Alaska for strategic parts of the Arctic island.

Under a 1951 deal, Denmark allowed the US to build bases and radar stations on Greenland.

The US Air Force currently maintains one base in northern Greenland, Thule Air Force Base, 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) south of the North Pole. Former military airfields in Narsarsuaq, Kulusuk and Kangerlussuaq have become civilian airports.

The Thule base, constructed in 1952, was originally designed as a refueling base for long-range bombing missions. It has been a ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance site since 1961.

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