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Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg meets with President Trump in Jan. 2018. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg acknowledged Thursday the precedent-shattering Trump administration fueled a belief that agreements or promises made by one U.S. president now come with a four-year expiration date.

Why it matters: "We are not naive," Solberg said in response to a question from Axios. The view is particularly important as climate change opens the Arctic to exploration, exploitation and militarization by the Russians, and they chafe at NATO defense exercises in Norway and elsewhere on their doorstep.

  • Norway is supposed to be protected by the United States and other fellow NATO members against any potential Russian aggression under the organization's Article 5 mutual-defense pact.
  • President Trump bad-mouthed NATO and called on its members to increase their defense spending, while also praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. That raised doubts during Trump's term about U.S. willingness to resist Russian aggression, a position President Biden has reversed.

What they're saying: Solberg spoke to Axios about climate change and other topics amid her involvement in a two-day climate summit convened by Biden.

  • "We hope that the Arctic will still be a low-tension area," she said. "Our placement in the Arctic is never going to be totally without tension in the area, because of the entry to the Atlantic."
  • "I don't think the Russians have been surprised about the agreement we have with the U.S., or the training and activity," the prime minister added.

Solberg complained there was no leadership from the U.S. in multilateral organizations during the Trump era. Yet she praised the U.S.’s continued engagement in defense matters.

  • “We felt the need for more American leadership and presence in those organizations, but they were there on security issues," she said.
  • Solberg has spoken recently with Vice President Harris, and expressed optimism about the U.S.' alliance as it faces global giants not just in the form of Russia but also China. She noted the focus in her conversations with the U.S. is continuing to shift more toward China than Russia during the last several years.

"They are helping us put up the barrier and becoming a part of the deterrence, because they have shown that any attack would be more difficult," Solberg said, noting the U.S.-Norway relationship proves the "NATO alliance is, in fact, functioning."

Go deeper

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

Updated Apr 22, 2021 - World

Russia announces end to massive troop buildup near Ukraine

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) with President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia's defense minister said Thursday that massive military exercises near the border with Ukraine had been completed, and that he had ordered troops to return to their permanent bases by May 1, according to state media.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment had been moved to the border of eastern Ukraine and the annexed territory of Crimea over the last month, sparking fears of a potential Russian invasion.

Apr 21, 2021 - World

China's Xi accepts invitation to Biden's climate summit

Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend President Biden's virtual climate summit this week, according to China's foreign ministry.

Why it matters: It'll mark the first time the two leaders have met face to face — albeit virtually — since Biden took office. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest carbon emitters.