Greenland has said it is “not for sale” after President Donald Trump stated that he would like the US to buy the world’s biggest island.
The president is said to have discussed the idea of purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, during dinners and meetings with advisers.
But Greenland’s government dismissed the idea, saying: “We’re open for business, not for sale.”
Mr Trump’s plans have also been quickly dismissed by politicians in Denmark. “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke…but totally out of [season]!”, tweeted former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which first reported the news, said Mr Trump had spoken about the purchase with “varying degrees of seriousness”.
Sources quoted in other media differed over whether the president was joking or seriously hoping to expand US territory.
Officials in Greenland have insisted that the island is not on the market.
“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. We’re open for business, not for sale,” the foreign ministry said in a statement shared on social media.
Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen repeated the comments in a separate statement. “Greenland is not for sale, but Greenland is open for trade and cooperation with other countries, including the USA,” he said.
Greenland MP Aaja Chemnitz Larsen was also among those to dismiss the president’s interest.
“No thanks to Trump buying Greenland!”, she wrote on Twitter, adding that a “better and more equal partnership with Denmark” was the way forward.
Poul Krarup, editor-in-chief of Greenland’s Sermitsiaq newspaper, told the BBC he “couldn’t believe” Mr Trump’s remarks.
“Greenland is an independent area in the Danish kingdom and must be respected as such,” he said.
But he said he thought the chances of Mr Trump’s reported ambitions being realised were unlikely.
“We’d like to cooperate with the US, no doubt about that, but we are independent and we decide who our friends are.”
Politicians in Denmark have ridiculed the idea of a possible US acquisition.
“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” foreign affairs spokesman for the populist Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, told national broadcaster DR.
“The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous.”
“Out of all things that are not going to happen, this is the most unlikely. Forget it,” Danish Conservative MP Rasmus Jarlov wrote on Twitter.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who took office earlier this year, has not commented on the reports.
She is set to visit Greenland this weekend and has said she is “very much looking forward” to it.
Mr Trump is scheduled to visit Denmark in September but there is no indication that the possible acquisition of Greenland is on the agenda.
The WSJ reported that it was “unclear” how the US would go about acquiring Greenland if Mr Trump was serious.