Danes shocked by cancellation of Donald Trump visit

Danes have voiced shock and disbelief at US President Donald Trump's cancellation of a visit to Denmark after his idea to buy Greenland was rebuffed.

However Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says she believes relations will not be affected by the events.

Trump's proposal at first elicited incredulity and humour from politicians in Denmark, a NATO ally of the US, with former premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen saying "it must be an April Fool's Day joke".

But the mood turned to bewilderment when Trump called off the September 2-3 visit after Frederiksen called his idea of the US purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory rich in natural resources, "absurd".

Frederiksen, a centre-left Social Democrat, said she learned of Trump's decision "with regret and surprise", given Denmark's strong relations with Washington, but repeated her opposition to any Greenland transaction.

She stressed that Greenland's premier Kim Kielsen had ruled out selling off the territory and "I obviously agree with him".

But Frederiksen said on Wednesday the US remained one of Denmark's closest allies.

"I don't think the cancelling of this state visit should affect any decisions we make whether it is on commercial co-operation or foreign and security policies."

Trump's decision elicited condemnation, outrage and mockery alike among Danish Opposition leaders and the public.

"So (Trump) has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland. Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark," former premier Helle Thorning Schmidt tweeted.

"Total chaos with @realDonaldTrump and cancellation of state visit to Denmark. It has gone from a big opportunity for strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis," ex-Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen of the Liberal Party said.

Greenland, which is gaining attention from world powers including China, Russia and the US due to its strategic location and mineral wealth, is self-governing but underdeveloped and relies on Denmark for economic support.

"Everyone should know Greenland is not for sale," Jensen said of the world's largest island, where the United States has a military presence at the Thule Air Base under a US-Danish treaty dating to 1951.

"(Trump's cancellation) is very, very shocking, when it is about a very close ally and a good friend," Soren Espersen of the hard right Danish People's Party said.

Danish Social Liberal Party leader Morten Ostergaard said Trump was unpredictable.

"It shows why we now more than ever should consider (fellow) European Union countries as our closest allies. The man is unpredictable," he said. "Reality surpasses imagination."

Trump said on Sunday a US purchase of Greenland would be "a large real estate deal".

"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," Trump tweeted on Tuesday.