Taiwan and the breakaway East African state of Somaliland announced they established official relations on Wednesday.
“The Government of Somaliland identified issues of mutual concern, including building-bridges of diplomacy; opening missions to boost political and socioeconomic links between the Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of China [Taiwan],” Somaliland’s Foreign Ministry Yasin Haji Mohamoud said on Twitter
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also confirmed the launch of bilateral relations.
“It was a great pleasure to meet Somaliland Foreign Minister Yasin Hagi Mohamoud earlier this year. Taiwan & Somaliland are building bilateral ties based on shared values, & we look forward to opening representative offices in both countries to expand mutually beneficial cooperation,” she tweeted.
Earlier, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Twitter that Taipei and “independent country” Somaliland had signed an agreement to set up representative offices in each other’s territory
With the new ties, Taiwan raised the number of its recognizing counterparts to 16 since China considers it a Chinese province, but Taipei has maintained that it is independent since 1949.
China refuses diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Taiwan, a move the US stops short of officially.
Somaliland, a self-declared state in East Africa with a nearly 3.5 million population, is yet to be recognized as a state by the international community.
However, the tiny state on the Horn of Africa has its own flag, parliament and currency.
A former colony of British empire, the Protectorate of Somaliland became fully independent on June 26, 1960. Following the independence of Somalia from Italy on July the same year, the two unified with each other.
Since 1991, Somaliland has been seeking international recognition as an independent state.
Somalia “does not recognize Somaliland’s breakaway status, and therefore maintains it is still part of Somalia’s territorial integrity, and that the Federal Government bases in Mogadishu therefore has authority over Somaliland as well,” Omar Mahmood, Somalia analyst for the International Crisis Group, told Anadolu Agency last month.
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Formajo and Somaliland leader Moussa Bihi Abdi held a landmark meeting in the neighboring Djibouti last month.
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