By PNA / Yonhap and U.S. News Agency / Asian
South Korea has sent a five-member team of observers to monitor a key election in East Timor later this week, officials said Thursday.
The Saturday general election is considered the last test of whether East Timor, which won formal independence in 2002, has achieved full democracy.
Last May, East Timor declared full responsibility for its own security.
Along with observers from other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as the United States, Japan and Canada, the South Korean team will monitor voting and vote-counting to be held in Dili, the capital of East Timor, and other districts, Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Building upon previous support provided to help East Timor successfully establish democracy in the process of gaining independence and establishing its first government, the Korean government, as a partner for democracy and prosperity, will continue to contribute to East Timor’s stability and development,” the statement said.
South Korea operated a military unit of about 400 soldiers in East Timor from 1999 to 2003 as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission.