The Republic of Kosovo declared independence Feb. 17. Taiwan’s minister of foreign affairs extended congratulations to the people and government of Kosovo the following day. On the same day, the United States, Britain and France, permanent members on the United Nations Security Council, recognized Kosovo’s independence.

Countries like China and Russia, which are concerned about the domestic impact of Kosovo’s independence and its application to the U.N., have expressed opposition to Kosovo’s independence. It is expected that obstacles still lie ahead.

Kosovo as an independent country has a population of 2.2 million with an area of 10,887 square kilometers. We wish Kosovo a bright and prosperous future and hope that it becomes a member of the U.N. soon.

Taiwan has been applying for U.N. membership since 1993. However, China has exerted pressure on many countries to block Taiwan’s bid to enter the U.N. Taiwan’s population is more than 10 times larger and its territory is more than three times larger than Kosovo’s. Moreover, Taiwan is the 18th-largest world economy and has made enormous international contributions in various fields, such as economics, technology and medical care.

Taiwan is fully qualified as a nation to apply for U.N. membership and will continue its effort this year. We call for Japan’s understanding and help in our endeavor.

wen-ching chu