Somaliland: Representative Office Opens in Taiwan
Today [9 September 2020] marked a historical day for UNPO members Somaliland and Taiwan, with the former opening a representative office in Taipei. Taiwan and Somaliland have grown closer in recent years, finding common ground in their peculiar and isolated international status. Both are thriving self-run democracies that remain mostly unrecognised by the wider world. The Foreign Ministers of the two territories signed a bilateral agreement in Taipei on 26 February this year, which has seen Taiwan offer “cooperation in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, energy, mining, public health and education”, as well as providing scholarships for Somaliland students. The news, however, has been poorly received by China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and severed ties with the Taiwanese leadership after Tsai Ing-Wen was re-elected for another four-year term of office earlier this year.Last month Taiwan opened an office in Somaliland. The move has sparked angry rebukes from both China and Somalia.
Below is an article published by France 24
Somaliland opened a representative office in Taiwan Wednesday as the unrecognised but de facto sovereign territories deepen a relationship that has sparked angry rebukes from both China and Somalia.
Taiwan and Somaliland have grown closer in recent years, finding common ground in their peculiar and isolated international status.
Both are thriving self-run democracies that remain mostly unrecognised by the wider world.
"The bilateral accord between Somaliland and Taiwan is based on common values of freedom and democracy," Somaliland representative Mohamed Hagi said at a ceremony in Taipei.
Beijing views Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if needed. Only 15 countries diplomatically recognise Taiwan over Beijing, although many nations maintain embassy equivalent trade offices in Taipei.
Somaliland, meanwhile, declared independence from Somalia during the 1991 civil war and has thrived as a comparative beacon of stability. While some nations maintain informal ties with Hargeisa, Somaliland is not diplomatically recognised by any other nation.
Last month Taiwan opened an office in Somaliland.
Somalia described the move as a "reckless attempt" to infringe on its sovereignty, while Beijing accused Taipei of separatism and acting with "desperation".
Hagi pushed back at that criticism on Wednesday.
"From Somaliland's perspective we are independent," he told reporters.
"We are happy to make relations with Taiwan and other countries, to build economic relations. There is not any threat to China."
Taiwan has been engaged in a diplomatic tug-of-war with Beijing for decades in which each side tries to woo the other's allies with financial and other incentives.
Since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Beijing has poached seven allies as part of a wider campaign to isolate Taipei.
Beijing loathes Tsai because she regards Taiwan as "already independent" and not part of one China.
Photo: Mohamed Hagi (left), Somaliland's new representative to Taiwan bumps elbows with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu Sam Yeh AFP