Not for sale: Danish MPs reject idea of Trump buying Greenland

Greenland: Every Day Life And General Imagery

Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the notion of selling Greenland to the United States following reports that President Donald Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying the world's biggest island with his advisers.

Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

"It has to be an April Fool's joke. Totally out of season," former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter.

The notion of purchasing the territory has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

"If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad," foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People's Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.

Dependant on Danish economic support

"The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous," he said.

Greenland, a self-ruling part of Denmark located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependant on Danish economic support.

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EQIP SERMIA, GREENLAND - JULY 31: A Greenlandic flag flies near the Eqip Sermia glacier, also called the Eqi Glacier, on July 31, 2019 at Eqip Sermia, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in the region, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 04: In this view from an airplane the town of Ilulissat is seen on Disko Bay on August 04, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 04: In this aerial view icebergs float at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord during a week of unseasonably warm weather on August 4, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe has also reached Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 04: Icebergs float in Disko Bay at sunset on August 04, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe has also reached Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 04: A massive iceberg stands at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord during a week of unseasonably warm weather on August 4, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe has also reached Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 04: Icebergs in the Ilulissat Icefjord loom behind buildings on August 04, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe has also reached Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 03: Locals play soccer on a Saturday on August 03, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 03: Dogs used for pulling dog sleds during the winter stand chained in a compound on the outskirts of town on August 03, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 03: Local Inuit children ride bikes on August 03, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - AUGUST 03: Icebergs float in the Ilulissat Icefjord during a week of unseasonably warm weather on August 3, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe has also reached Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
EQIP SERMIA, GREENLAND - JULY 31: A visitor relaxes at a hut at the Glacier Lodge Eqi across from the Eqip Sermia glacier, also called the Eqi Glacier, on July 31, 2019 at Eqip Sermia, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in the region, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 30: Icebergs floating at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord loom behind the town center on July 30, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
EQIP SERMIA, GREENLAND - JULY 31: Flowers called arctic harebell (campanula uniflora) stand across from the Eqip Sermia glacier during unseasonably warm weather on July 31, 2019 at Eqip Sermia, Greenland. Summers in Greenland have become longer over the the past few decades, which, according to a local biologist, is leading some species of flowers to blossom twice rather than only once. The Eqip Sermia glacier is located approximately 350km north of the Arctic Circle, and while the calving of ice from its face is a natural process going back millions of years, the glacier's retreat of about 3 km over the last 100 years is a new phenomenon. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 30: Icebergs floating at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord loom behind the town center on July 30, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 30: A puppy that will one day pull dog sleds during the winter stands in grass on the outskirts of town on July 30, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As the Earth's climate warms summers have become longer in Ilulissat, allowing fishermen a wider period to fish from boats on open waters and extending the summer tourist season. Long term benefits are uncertain, however, as warming waters could have a negative impact on the local fish and whale population. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 30: An iceberg floats in Disko Bay behind houses during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 in Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe is arriving in Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Colorful houses in Saqqaq village, western Greenland
Lots of Inuit houses scattered on the hill in Nuuk city covered in snow with sea and mountains in the background, Greenland
Winter night in Nuuk
Aappilattoq fishing village, South Greenland
The northern lights over icebergs
greenland, Schweizerland Alps, huskies
Two girlfriends having fun on a scooter in the street.
Amazing mountain and tundra in Greenland.
Northern Lights above Nuuk
Reindeer in Svalbard in summer time
"Traditional Inuit sealskin boots hung on a washing line like Christmas stockings - on the Arctic island of Uummannaq, Greenland.Danish and Greenlandic children believe that Santa Claus lives on the bay of Spraglebugten on the west of the island. A turf hut (Santa's Castle) was built there for a Danish television programme and remains Santa's home in the popular imagination."
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"I am sure a majority in Greenland believes it is better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long term," Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Danish MP from Greenland's second-largest party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), told Reuters.

"My immediate thought is 'No, thank you'," she said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod were not available for comment but officials said they would respond later on Friday. The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen was also not immediately available for comment.

"Oh dear lord. As someone who loves Greenland, has been there nine times to every corner and loves the people, this is a complete and total catastrophe," former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, said in on Twitter.

Greenland is gaining attention from global super powers including China, Russia and the United States due to its strategic location and its mineral resources.

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia was behaving aggressively in the Arctic and China's actions there had to be watched closely as well.

A defence treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the U.S. military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland.

Greenland is part of Denmark with self-government over domestic affairs, while Copenhagen handles defence and foreign policy.

The idea is 'a grotesque proposal'

There has been no indication that a Greenland purchase will be on the agenda for Trump's talks with Danish officials.

Martin Lidegaard, senior lawmaker of the Danish Social Liberal Party and a former foreign minister, called the idea "a grotesque proposal" which had no basis in reality.

"We are talking about real people and you can't just sell Greenland like an old colonial power," he told Reuters.

"But what we can take seriously is that the U.S. stakes and interest in the Arctic is significantly on the rise and they want a much bigger influence," he added.

In 1917 Denmark sold off the then Danish West Indies islands for $25 million to the United States, which renamed them the United States Virgin Islands.

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