Kosovo Ripples Felt in Taiwan Strait, Former Soviet Union
By Patrick Goodenough
(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. and other governments that are backing Kosovo's independence stress that it sets no precedent for other situations worldwide, but the move already is stoking the long-simmering sovereignty dispute between China and Taiwan.
In the aftermath of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia early this week, Taiwan's government issued a statement welcoming the move. That drew a quick rebuke from the mainland government, which said that Taiwan, "as a part of China," has no right to recognize Kosovo's decision.
Undeterred, the Taiwanese government then went a step further, declaring in a statement its formal recognition of the new Balkan state.
"In no way should the independence of one nation be denied by another," Taipei's foreign ministry said in a statement.
"Despite a multitude of barriers, the people of Kosovo have insisted on an ideal that they believe in, which is to peacefully pursue independence, without being threatened or scared away," it said.
Foreign Minister James Huang said the formal announcement followed the statements of recognition by the U.S. and European countries. It was not a reaction to China's angry remarks, which had come as "no surprise," the Central News Agency quoted him as saying.
Huang said bilateral contacts that had been underway over the past two years would continue, although it remains to be seen whether Kosovo will agree to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
The self-governing island has only a handful of remaining allies that have not given in to Beijing's demands to isolate Taiwan (China refuses to have diplomatic ties with any state that recognizes Taiwan, which China regards as a rebellious province.)
If Kosovo does recognize Taiwan, it would be a coup for Taipei: The Vatican is currently its only diplomatic ally in Europe; the remainder are mostly small, developing nations in Africa and the Pacific who benefit economically from their allegiance.
1) Kosovo Ripples Felt in Taiwan Strait, Former Soviet Union