US Jerusalem Decision in Focus as Pence Visits Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed U.S. Vice President Mike Pence with a ceremony Monday in Jerusalem, as Pence made his latest stop on a four-day tour of the Middle East.
In addition to a series of bilateral talks, Pence is also giving an address to the Knesset.
Senior White House officials said the vice president would be discussing the U.S.-Israeli relationship, ways to counter Iranian influence in the region, and strategy regarding the Syrian conflict.
In the Knesset speech, the officials said Pence would highlight that he was speaking from Jerusalem, in the context of President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He also planned to say there is an open window for both Israelis and Palestinians to get to work and make necessary sacrifices toward a long-sought peace agreement.
Trump's decision brought sharp criticism from Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas who said the United States could no longer play a role in the peace process.
Arab members of parliament have said they will boycott Pence's speech.
Before traveling to Israel, Pence was in Jordan where King Abdullah expressed concern about the Jerusalem decision and urged the United States to "rebuild trust and confidence" in the search for a two-state solution.
Tokyo Holds Evacuation Drill, Simulates N.Korea Missile Attack
Hundreds of people in Japan's capital Monday participated in an evacuation drill meant to simulate the scenario of an incoming North Korean ballistic missile.
A voice over a loudspeaker at an amusement park told the participants, "We have information that a missile launch has occurred. Please evacuate calmly inside a building or underground." Media reports say that people calmly walked to shelters.
Similar drills were held around the country last year, but the drill in the amusement park was the first to be held in the capital.
North Korea has its neighbors on edge with its missile and nuclear testing. The isolated country has flown missiles over Japan and into the sea near Japan, as part of its missile testing program.
Residents in earthquake-prone Japan are use to drills for natural disasters. Some residents, however, objected to the drill on Monday， thinking this is a way to promote a war, which would devastate everything.