China ‘concerned’, Australia backs Kosovo split

PARIS, Feb 18, 2008 (AFP) – Australia on Monday became the lastest nation to welcome Kosovo’s declaration of independence, joining the United States and several European powers, despite fierce objections from Serbia and Russia. Ethnic Albanians account for around 25 percent of Macedonia’s two-million population. In 2001, the government and ethnic Albanian rebels waged a brief fight mostly in the northern and western parts of the country.

But China was among countries unhappy with Kosovo’s breakaway from Serbia, declaring it was “deeply concerned” about the future of peace in the region.

“The unilateral approach by Kosovo may cause a series of consequences and lead to severe negative influences on the peace and stability of the Balkan region,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

“China expresses deep concern about this.”
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said diplomatic recognition of the new state would be offered soon.

“We’ve already indicated to our diplomatic representatives around the world that this (independence) would be an appropriate course of action,” Rudd told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Russia angrily condemned Kosovo’s announcement, and called an eme