President of the United States, Joe Biden, has arrived in the United Kingdom, where he is set to meet with King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday, July 10th, 2023, before continuing his journey to Vilnius for the NATO Summit and making a final stop in Finland.
The presidential aircraft, Air Force One, landed at Stansted Airport in northern London on Sunday evening, according to reports from an AFP journalist.
On Monday, Biden will meet the King of England at Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences, for the first time since Charles III’s ascension and the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
President Biden did not attend the coronation ceremony and instead sent First Lady Jill Biden. The discussions between Biden and King Charles III are expected to focus on environmental issues, according to the White House.
Later today, Biden is also scheduled to meet with PM Sunak at his office in 10 Downing Street, London.
The main part of Biden’s journey to Europe is the NATO Summit in the capital of Lithuania, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, where Western allies will discuss how to support Ukraine against Russian forces.
Ukraine has been pushing for NATO membership, but Biden stated in a Sunday interview with CNN that it cannot happen until the war is over. Bringing Ukraine in now would mean NATO is at war with Russia, said Biden.
Under Article 5, NATO is committed to defending any member attacked. “That’s a commitment we’ve all made, no matter what happens. If war goes on, we’re all in. We’re in with Russia, if that’s the case,” Biden said.
This trip comes following a controversial decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs, which have been banned by most NATO member countries but are still stockpiled by the US. The US claims these bombs will help Ukraine in destroying Russian forces.
Biden’s final stop before returning to Washington on Thursday will be Finland, which is breaking its historic neutrality to join NATO in response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Biden will be the first US president to visit Helsinki since Donald Trump departed five years ago to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.