Tue, Feb 19, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Kosovo shows Taiwan the way, Su Tseng-chang says

By Ko Shu-ling and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice presidential candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday congratulated Kosovo on its declaration of independence, saying that Taiwan hoped to follow Kosovo along the same path.

"It took a long time to build the ship of democracy in Taiwan. We cannot sail it to somebody else's harbor," he said.

Su said it took generations to make direct presidential elections a reality in Taiwan.

Kosovo has about 2 million people who are determined to be their own masters and build a new nation, while Taiwan has 23 million people and has a solid democratic foundation, he said.

Although the DPP suffered heavy losses in the legislative elections on Jan. 12, Su said the presidential election on March 22 would be the last line of defense for Taiwan's sovereignty.

The public must elect a candidate who is capable, loves Taiwan and is determined to protect the country's sovereignty, he said.

"We are calling on voters to help preserve democratic politics and the fundamental value of checks and balances," he said.

Su made the remarks while visiting a temple in Chiayi County yesterday morning.

Kosovo declared independence on Sunday in a historic bid for statehood in defiance of Serbian and Russian opposition.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday also congratulated Kosovo on its independence and said Taiwan looks forward to fostering ties with any country that upholds the universal values of democracy, freedom and peace.

In an official press release, MOFA touted Kosovars and said self-determination was a right recognized by the UN and that the people should be the masters of their nation's fate.

In no way should the independence of one nation be denied by another, it said.

Despite a multitude of barriers, the release said, the people of Kosovo have insisted on an ideal they believe in, which is to peacefully pursue independence without being threatened or scared away.

China reacted angrily on Monday to MOFA's statement, saying Taiwan had no right to offer an opinion on the subject.

"It is known to all that as a part of China, Taiwan has no right or eligibility to give any so-called `recognition' [to Kosovo]," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超) said in a statement.

Additional reporting by AFP

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