Wed, Feb 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan officially recognizes Kosovo, James Huang says

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government officially recognizes Kosovo and seeks to establish relations with all freedom-loving countries, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday.

The announcement came one day after China condemned Taiwan for congratulating Kosovo on its newfound statehood, saying Taiwan does not have the right to "recognize" Kosovo.

Huang denied that yesterday's announcement was a reaction to Beijing's criticism.

"China's opposition did not come into our consideration. As a sovereign nation, Taiwan has the right to do whatever it believes is correct and just," he said.

Huang said that Taiwan is interested in establishing friendships and forging diplomatic ties with all countries that uphold the values of freedom and democracy.

He said Taiwan had made contact with Kosovar media and officials on several occasions over the past two years.

"We look forward to further contact with Kosovo in the future," he said, adding that Taiwan would provide aid to Kosovo if required.

He said Taiwan had planned to recognize Kosovo since its declaration of independence, but had waited for major countries to make their stance clear. Had Taiwan not made its announcement yesterday, it might have appeared that Taipei was cowed by Beijing, he said.

In announcing the US' recognition on Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cautioned that Kosovo was a "special case" and "cannot be seen as a precedent for any other situation in the world today."

When asked if Rice was talking about Taiwan, Huang said "every country is a special case."

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last night that Kosovo's declaration was testimony to the global pursuit of democracy, adding that violence would only silence people temporarily.

In a speech to the foreign ministry's spring dinner for the Taipei diplomatic corps at the Grand Hotel, Chen urged all democracies to work together in unity and support all groups seeking democratic progression.

Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA

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