China worries about peace in Balkans after Kosovo move

Other News Materials 18 February 2008 17:07 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - China on Monday expressed concern about the effects Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia would have on peace in the Balkans, urging the two governments to work out their problems through dialogue.

"Kosovo's unilateral act can produce a series of results that will lead to seriously negative influence on peace and stability in the Balkan region and on the realization of building a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo, which China is deeply concerned about," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

The parliament of Kosovo declared independence Sunday after the region had been a province of Serbia since 1944 and seen decades of ethnic tension as Kosovo's Albanian majority complained of mistreatment by Serbs.

Serbia called the declaration illegal and said it would never recognize Kosovo's secession.

"China calls on the two sides of Serbia and Kosovo to continue to seek a proper solution through negotiation within the framework of international law, and the international community should create favourable conditions for this," Liu said.

While expressing concern over the possible impact in the Balkan region, Liu blasted Taiwan for trying to use Kosovo's move to highlight its attempt to seek formal independence from China.

"We sternly oppose to any individual or organisation under any form to split Taiwan from the mainland," said Liu in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

He was referring to a statement issued by Taiwan's Foreign Ministry that welcomed Kosovo's independence.

Beijing is wary that Kosovo's independence would further encourage independence movements in Taiwan and Tibet.

Liu said self-governing Taiwan was not qualified to recognise the independence of other countries. "Taiwan has long been known as a part of China, and has no right and qualification to recognise other countries," he said through the statement.

Earlier on Monday, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry congratulated Kosovo for its independence, saying "self-determination is a right recognised by the United Nations and it is the people who are masters of their nation's future."

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

It said Taiwan is a member of the international community that cherishes democracy and freedom, and the government is delighted that the people of Kosovo have the fruits of independence, democracy and freedom to look forward to.

Taiwan's vice presidential candidate Su Tseng-chang of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party also said Monday the island is "more qualified" than Kosovo to become independent, given that it has more than 23 million people and has elected its own president.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949 but Beijing has maintained that the island is a part of China that must be brought back to its fold, if necessary by force.