Donald Trump has poked fun at his own suggestion of buying Greenland from Denmark, tweeting a doctored photo of Trump Tower looming over a small village in the Arctic territory.
“I promise not to do this to Greenland!” the US president joked on Twitter.
Mr Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he was “strategically” interested in such a deal, but said it was not a priority of his administration.
He told reporters: “It’s not number one on the burner.”
Following his remarks, Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said that Greenland was not for sale and that Mr Trump’s idea of buying it is “an absurd discussion”.
“Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic,” she said.
Ms Frederiksen added that she hopes “that this is not something that is seriously meant”.
Mr Trump’s interest in the Danish territory emerged last week when he reportedly discussed it in a private meeting with advisers.
Danish politicians poured scorn on the idea, with former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen describing it as an “April Fool’s Day joke”.
However, that did not appear to put off Mr Trump.
Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, he said: “It is something we talked about. Denmark essentially owns it, we are very good allies with Denmark, we protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world.
“The concept came up – strategically it would be interesting. We’ll talk to them a little bit, it is not number one on the burner at the minute, I can tell you that.
“A lot of things could be done, essentially it is a large real estate deal. It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they are losing almost $700m a year carrying it.”
America has had an air base in Greenland for decades as part of its global network of missile radars and space surveillance.
Mr Trump, who is due to visit Denmark in September as part of a European trip, is not the first US president to raise the idea of purchasing the island.
In 1946, president Harry Truman offered to buy Greenland for $100m (£82.4m).
The island’s foreign ministry tweeted on Friday: “#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.”
Greenland, a self-ruling part of Denmark, is dependant on Danish economic support and is situated between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
It handles its own domestic affairs, while Copenhagen oversees its defence and foreign policy.
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