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World

Danish Parliament Member Reacts To Trump Wanting To Buy Greenland

NOEL KING, HOST:

President Trump said he wants to buy Greenland. The Danish prime minister said, quote, "Greenland is not for sale," and she called the idea absurd. Then President Trump said this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I thought that the prime minister's statement that it was absurd, that was it - it was an absurd idea, was nasty, I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say, no, we wouldn't be interested.

KING: After that, President Trump postponed a planned trip to Denmark. Michael Aastrup Jensen is a member of the Danish Parliament. He joins us from Parliament in Copenhagen. Good morning, sir.

MICHAEL AASTRUP JENSEN: Good morning.

KING: What do you think about President Trump's remarks and the postponing of his trip?

JENSEN: Well, I have to admit it has been a very strange couple of days. At first, to even start the debate about buying Greenland or not, it was strange in itself. But then also to cancel a visit 14 days before the visit should take place is being perceived by everyone here as a grave insult. You should bear in mind that Denmark is - well, we think so - a very close ally and friend to the U.S., has been so for many, many years. So to act like that from a president, from a friend, from a friendly country, is very strange to us.

KING: Well, let me ask you about that. As you point out, the U.S. and Denmark have been close allies for a very long time. The U.S. has an Air Force base that's operated in Greenland since 1943. So when we talk about what effect this is going to have on U.S.-Denmark relations, can we predict that?

JENSEN: Well, I think it's very important from both sides that we do whatever we can to try to still have very close cooperations (ph). We have many operations around the world where we have troops fighting alongside each other, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and so on. And we also have increasing trade relations through the years. So no matter what, we have to have a strong relations. But we also have to send a very clear diplomatic signal that the behavior from the president of the U.S. against a close friend is not acceptable.

And I hope that we can try to strengthen ties with the U.S. as a whole, meaning with Congress, senators, congressmen, with the administration in general, so that we still have close ties with the U.S. but perhaps not, let's say, have President Trump acting around as a bull in a china shop, which we believe he is right now.

KING: Let me ask you about Greenland. Greenland is a semiautonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark. What's the significance of Greenland to Denmark? Because this really has caused a lot of emotional reaction, hasn't it?

JENSEN: Well, absolutely. And Greenland has been part of the Kingdom of Denmark, well, since almost the Viking Age. So this is an integrated part, but they have very expanded home rule. They have - they are an autonomous region. We made a law 10 years ago that state quite clearly that the Greenlandic people themself (ph) can decide who they want to be part of or not. So the whole idea that we could even sell Greenland is so absurd and surreal that, you know, it's so far away from reality, actually.

KING: Danish lawmaker Michael Aastrup Jensen, thanks so much for joining us.

JENSEN: You're welcome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.