Somaliland Asserts Relations With Taiwan Despite Beijing’s Disapproval

Photo credit: @iingwen

Taiwan and Somaliland have decided to ‘publicly’ deepen their diplomatic relations and move cooperation further by establishing representative offices in their various territories. Taiwanese Foreign minister, Joseph Wu announced on Wednesday July 1 that, “We’ve signed an agreement with Somaliland to establish good relations. A Taiwan Representative Office will be set up in this independent country on the Horn of Africa. We’re thousands of miles apart, but share a deep-seated love of freedom & democracy.” Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi welcomed the news by tweeting, “the bilateral relationship of Somaliland and Taiwan is built upon shared values & mutual respect,” Reuters news reported.

The diplomatic agreement was signed in February 2020 when Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister of Somaliland went on a four-day visit to Taipei. Active contact and cooperation between the two sides started in 2009. 

However, the move, which according to Wu, is “the most beneficial course of action,” seems to be in bad taste with Beijing’s One China foreign policy. For decades, China has emphasized and persisted that countries it has diplomatic relations acknowledge the People’s Republic of China as the only sovereign state under the name China and that mainland China and Taiwan belong to one China. Currently, through pressure from Beijing, all AfricancCountries except Eswatini have severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. 

Following the news, the Chinese Embassy in Somalia reasserted: “there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is a part of China and the government of PRC is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.”

China has reinforced its security influence in the East Africa region. In 2019, Beijing set up its first military base in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa. This action has been described by some international relations analysts as assertive. 

Somaliland is a self-declared independent state in Somalia. Despite the local government’s declaration of independence in 1991, Somaliland is not an internationally recognised African state.

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