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Trump postpones meeting with Danish leader over refusal to sell Greenland

Trump postpones meeting with Danish prime minister
Trump postpones meeting with Danish prime min... 00:36

President Trump has canceled a planned trip to Denmark over the prime minister's apparent unwillingness to discuss the possible sale of Greenland. The president announced on Twitter that the meeting with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen would be rescheduled.

"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...." he wrote. "....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 president was scheduled to go to Poland in less than two weeks to attend World War II commemorations before traveling to Copenhagen at the invitation of the queen of Denmark. The White House said Tuesday evening that the entire Denmark portion of the trip had been canceled.

A spokeswoman for Denmark's royal palace, Lene Balleby, told CBS News Wednesday that Mr. Trump's decision was "a surprise," but she had no further comments.

The Associated Press said a former foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, speaking to broadcaster TV2, called the Trump move "a diplomatic farce." He called Mr. Trump's behavior "grotesque" and said the president was "throwing a hissy fit."

Mr. Trump had asked aides to explore the possibility of purchasing Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory, sources told CBS News last week. His interest in acquiring the island was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Frederiksen, the prime minister, told a Danish newspaper that the idea was dead on arrival.

"Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously," Frederiksen told a newspaper during a trip to Greenland, according to Reuters. Greenland's ministry of foreign affairs said the country is "open for business, not for sale."

What one Greenland town thinks of Trump 03:17

At a Tuesday Morning press conference, Frederiksen said despite the president's persistence on buying the island, she had been looking forward to the visit. 

"It was an opportunity to celebrate Denmark's close relationship to the US, who remains one of Denmark's closest allies. I was looking forward to having a dialogue on the many shared interests Denmark has with the U.S."

Frederiksen said Mr. Trump's change in plans "does not change the character of our good relations and we will of course from Denmark continue our ongoing dialogue with the United States on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we face."

The president said Sunday that the idea intrigued him, but wasn't a priority. The U.S. operates a military base on the island and previous administrations have tried to acquire it twice before, given its strategic importance in the North Atlantic.

"Well, Greenland, I don't know, it got released; somehow it just is something we talked about, Denmark officially owns it, we are very good allies with Denmark," Mr. Trump said. "We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up, and I said certainly I'd be — strategically it's interesting, and we'd be interested, but we will talk to them. It's not number one on the burner, I can tell you that."

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