OSLO, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Norway on Saturday reconfirmed its commitment to gradually increase defense spending to two percent of GDP in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to the Nordic country.
"Norway is committed to the two percent goal in NATO, and our new long-term plan for 2021-24 will have this commitment as a key premise," Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen said at a joint press conference with Mattis.
But the Norwegian minister did not mention any specific deadline for meeting this spending goal.
"Norway has increased our defence spending by 24 percent in real terms since 2013. We will continue to increase defence spending substantially in the coming years," Bakke-Jensen told reporters.
He noted that Norway is investing in "strategic capabilities" such as the new F-35 combat aircraft, submarines and P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.
"Norway is NATO in the North -- I believe the work we are doing in the North, on intelligence, surveillance, on deterrence and dialogue, is not only important to Norway, it is also important to the U.S. and to NATO," said the minister.
For his part, Mattis said Norway's recommitment to meet the two-percent target at the recent NATO summit ensures that the alliance is stronger today than it was a month ago or a year ago.
Mattis also met with Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide.