The Bidens go to Finland
Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden just arrived in Finland in what is the highest-ranking visit by a U.S. official to Helsinki since the Clinton administration. The Bidens, who arrived three hours late due to bad weather in Washington, were greeted at the tarmac by Bruce Oreck, U.S. ambassador to Finland (and vacuum ...
Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden just arrived in Finland in what is the highest-ranking visit by a U.S. official to Helsinki since the Clinton administration.
The Bidens, who arrived three hours late due to bad weather in Washington, were greeted at the tarmac by Bruce Oreck, U.S. ambassador to Finland (and vacuum cleaner magnate); Mika Rossi, state secretary in the prime minister’s office; Ann-Marie Nyroos, foreign policy adviser to the president; Pekka Lintu, the Finnish ambassador to the United States; Mikko Jokelo, chief of protocol; and Anja Laisi, deputy chief of protocol. The Bidens brought granddaughter Finnegan along for the trip.
On Monday night, the Bidens will meet with the U.S. embassy staff in Helsinki and tour the city. The vice president is scheduled to meet with Finnish President Tarja Halonen on Tuesday, and then have a working lunch with Finnish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi and greet Speaker of the Parliament Sauli Niinistö.
"The last visit by a U.S. president or vice president to Finland was President Clinton in March of 1997," said Biden’s top national security advisor Tony Blinken. "And we thought it was past time to return to acknowledge the vitality and strength of our relationship."
Clinton visited Helsinki in 1997 for a summit on military and economic issues with then Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
On the agenda for Biden’s short stopover in Finland is the situation in Afghanistan, where Finland has 200 soldiers deployed. Biden also plans to talk about U.S.-EU relations. Finland is also a leader in green technologies, always a subject the vice president is keen to discuss.
Biden also happens to be in Finland on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
"It’s really a fitting place to be, because Finland has played a lead role in promoting global efforts to advance women’s issues," Blinken said, noting that both the Finnish president and prime minister are women.
After Finland, Biden will travel to Russia, where World Trade Organization and missile defense will top the agenda. Following that, he will travel on to Moldova before returning to Washington later this week.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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