President Biden arrived in Finland Thursday for a meeting with Nordic leaders, and welcomed the newest NATO member nation into the military alliance.
“I don’t think NATO has ever been stronger,” Biden told reporters at the presidential palace in Helsinki. “Together we’re standing for shared democratic values.”
Finland, which shares a border with Russia, broke roughly 100 years of military neutrality when it applied to join NATO along with neighbor Sweden in May, 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.
On Monday Turkey agreed to admit Sweden into NATO, setting aside a dispute surrounding the treatment of anti-Islam activists and pro-Kurdish groups inside Sweden. Hungary, the last holdout among NATO’s 31 members, is expected to ratify Sweden’s bid when its parliament convenes in the fall.
During a joint news conference Thursday with Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö, Biden asserted that “a stronger NATO makes the entire world stronger.”
Niinistö noted that technology was “key” to future security, including elements such as artificial intelligence.
“All of that is leading our way to the future,” said the Finnish President, “and we have to make sure that it’s leading our way in a very secure way, and that demands responsibility of those who know how. And that is why it is very important to coordinate and cooperate with our knowledge and resources.”
When asked by reporters what actions the White House was taking to ensure future presidents don’t withdraw the United States from NATO, Biden insisted, “I absolutely guarantee it.”
Further pressed, he added, “I’m saying as sure as anything can possibly be said about American foreign policy, we will stay connected to NATO—connected to NATO beginning, middle and end. We are in a trans-Atlantic partnership.”
Biden’s visit was in stark contrast to former President Trump’s visit to Helsinki five years ago this week. During that Nordic summit Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding whether the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election, rebuking U.S. intelligence and raising concern both in Washington and in allied capitals worldwide.
Both and Biden and Niinistö pledged their nations’ continued support for Ukraine in its war against Russia during the news conference.
Earlier on Thursday in Finland, Biden said, “The vision for the world that we all share…is one that’s more free, more secure, and opportunity’s made available for all.”