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Politics/Diplomacy
2008/03/27 09:39 KST
S. Korea to back Kosovo independence

   SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has decided to recognize Kosovo, a move seen as aimed at bolstering ties with the United States, which has supported the Balkan nation's independence, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

   South Korea notified the U.S. of its position in the latest talks between the top diplomats of the two sides held in Washington, but Seoul has yet to fix a date for the announcement of its decision, they added.

   The sensitive issue of Kosovo has been considered a litmus test for the diplomatic policy of the new Lee Myung-bak government, whose mantra is pragmatism.

   More than 30 countries including the U.S. Japan and some European nations, announced their decision to recognize Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, despite opposition from Russia and Serbia.

   "South Korean officials have reached the conclusion that they don't need to waste more time in making a decision on the matter, given that many of its allies including the U.S., Japan, Australia, and European nations, as well as the United Nations, support Kosovo's independence," a source said.

   South Korea has already explained the background of its decision to Russia and Serbia through diplomatic channels, added the source.

   lcd@yna.co.kr
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