Somalia fumes over Taiwan-Somaliland diplomatic ties

Monday August 24 2020

A woman waves a Somaliland flag as soldiers and other military personnel march past during an Independence Day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa. File | AFP

By Abdulkadir Khalif

Mogadishu. Somalia has expressed anger over Taiwan's move to open a representative office in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Somalia warned Taiwan of retaliatory measures if it continues to make moves in the breakaway territory, which unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia back in May 18, 1991.

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Issa Awad also cautioned Taiwan against interfering with Somalia’s unity and sovereignty.

“The Federal Government of Somalia condemns Taiwan’s reckless attempts to infringe on the Sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia and violate its territorial integrity,” he said in a statement.

He stated that the Somali government is not against development sought by any region of Somalia, but warned Taiwan and any other nation against bypassing official channels, that is, passing through Somalia.

“The Federal government will take necessary measures under international law to protect
the nation’s unity,” the minister remarked.


On Monday August 17, Taiwan opened its first office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, in a ceremony that Somaliland officials and Taiwanese diplomats participated in.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister reportedly took part from Taipei via online channels.

In early July, when Taiwan -- itself a breakaway territory of China -- declared its relations with Somaliland, China’s Embassy in Mogadishu rejected the deal on grounds that it violated the One China policy for which Beijing is the sole representative of Chinese affairs abroad.     

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which it has vowed to retake.

However, Taiwan, led by President Tsai Ing-wen, insists it is a sovereign state.

Despite a vigorous 30-year campaign, Somaliland is yet to attain international recognition.