Prince William to visit Palestinian Territories, Israel this summer

Britain’s Prince William will visit the Palestinian Territories and Israel. (AP)
Updated 01 March 2018
0

Prince William to visit Palestinian Territories, Israel this summer

LONDON: Prince William will be the first senior British royal to make an official visit to the Palestinian Territories and Israel, Kensington Palace announced on Thursday, as part of a tour which will also take in Jordan.
The visit this summer by the second in line to the throne "is at the request of Her Majesty's government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities", the palace said in a statement.
There have been no previous official visits by members of the British royal family to the Palestinian Territories.
William will be the first close relation of Queen Elizabeth II to make a official visit to Israel, following official trips made previously by the monarch's cousins the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed what he said would be "a historic visit" to his country.
Junior foreign minister Alistair Burt said the upcoming tour was an "important and unique opportunity to promote diplomatic and cultural ties in the region".
Jordan has received British royals multiple times, including a state visit by the queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh in 1984.
President Mahmud Abbas welcomed this summer’s “important” visit by Prince William, and a statement from the Palestinian presidency on official news agency WAFA said  “We look forward to contributing to strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two peoples”. 


N.Korea’s Kim to travel to Vietnam by train, summit at Government Guesthouse

Updated 30 sec ago
0

N.Korea’s Kim to travel to Vietnam by train, summit at Government Guesthouse

  • The trip would take Kim Jong Un at least two and a half days
  • The two leaders will discuss the denuclearization of Korea
HANOI: Vietnam is preparing for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to arrive by train for his summit in Hanoi next week with US President Donald Trump, two sources with direct knowledge of security and logistics planning told Reuters on Wednesday.
It could take Kim at least two and a half days to travel the thousands of kilometers through China by train, from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to Vietnam, meaning he would have to set off later this week in time for his planned Feb. 25 arrival.
Kim’s train will stop at the Vietnamese border station of Dong Dang, where he will disembark and drive 170 km to Hanoi by car, the sources said.
Trump and Kim will meet in the Vietnamese capital on Feb. 27-28, eight months after a historic summit in Singapore in June — the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader — at which they pledged to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Negotiations have made little headway since then and there is growing expectation that this time they need to reach a more specific agreement.
Separately, three other sources with direct knowledge of the summit preparations told Reuters the preferred location for the meeting between the leaders is the Government Guesthouse, a colonial-era government building in central Hanoi.
All five sources who spoke to Reuters said the plans were subject to change. The sources were not authorized to speak to the media because of the sensitivities surround the secretive North Korean leader’s travel plans.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the summit organizing committee on Tuesday that security during the summit was “top priority,” Vietnam’s government said on its website on Wednesday.
The Metropole Hotel, opposite the Government Guesthouse, will be a backup location for the summit, two of the sources said.
On Saturday, a Reuters witness saw Kim Jong Un’s close aide, Kim Chang Son, visiting the Government Guesthouse and the Metropole and Melia hotels in the center of the capital.
Kim could possibly stay in the Melia hotel during his visit, one of the sources said.
Asked whether Kim would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on his way through the country, or for any other details of the trip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was unaware of the situation.
“China and North Korea have a tradition of high-level mutual visits. As for the situation you mentioned, I have no grasp of it,” Geng told a daily news briefing. He did not elaborate.
Like father, like son
Travel by train has been a favorite mode of transport for Kim Jong Un, and his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung.
North Korea experts have remarked on how Kim Jong Un’s overseas visits, such as his state visit to China in January, are reminiscent of Kim Il Sung.
“(His father) Kim Jong Il was very reclusive. He didn’t like meeting foreign delegations, and he didn’t really enjoy going to foreign countries,” said Thae Yong Ho, North Korea’s former deputy ambassador to Britain, who defected to South Korea in 2016, told media on Tuesday.
“But Kim Jong Un is a bit like Kim Il Sung. He really likes overseas activity,” said Thae.
Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, visited Vietnam twice, in 1958 and 1964.
In 1958, Kim Il Sung went from Pyongyang to Beijing by plane, then from Beijing to Guangzhou by train, then he appears to have crossed the border from China to Hanoi by plane, South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun reported on Tuesday citing archived Chinese media reports.
In 1964, Kim Il Sung visited Vietnam using a Vickers Viscount aircraft provided by China that was the personal plane of Mao Zedong’s second-in-command Lin Biao, Kyunghyang reported.