President Donald Trump is making light of his own idea of buying Greenland from Denmark, tweeting a doctored photo of Trump Tower looming over a small village in the Arctic territory.
Trump jokes on Twitter, "I promise not to do this to Greenland!"
Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he is "strategically" interested in such a deal, but said it's not a priority of his administration. He told reporters, "It's not No. 1 on the burner."
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Greenland is not for sale and Trump's idea of buying it is "an absurd discussion."
"Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told the newspaper Sermitsiaq during a visit to Greenland.
I promise not to do this to Greenland! pic.twitter.com/03DdyVU6HA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 20 August 2019
Trump has confirmed that he had recently discussed the possibility, though he said such a move was not an immediate priority.
"The concept came up and ...strategically it's interesting," Trump told reporters from the tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey, as he prepared to board Air Force One.
"Essentially, it's a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It's hurting Denmark very badly, because they're losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss," he said.
Trump is due to visit Copenhagen early next month, when the Arctic will be on the agenda in meetings with Frederiksen and Prime Minister Kim Kielsen of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday sparked media reports earlier in the week that Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying Greenland.
"I don't want to predict an outcome. I'm just saying the president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a Greenland purchase," Kudlow told Fox News.
Kudlow said the situation was "developing" and noted that former US President Harry Truman had also wanted to buy Greenland.
"And Denmark owns Greenland, Denmark is an ally, Greenland is a strategic place, up there. And they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals," Kudlow added.
A defence treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the US military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland.
Greenland, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependent on Danish economic support. It handles its own domestic affairs while Copenhagen looks after defence and foreign policy.
"It's an absurd discussion, and (Greenland Premier) Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That's where the conversation ends," Frederiksen told the Danish broadcaster DR.
With Associated Press.
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