Thursday July 2, 2020
FILE PHOTO – Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Qin Jian
Mogadishu (HOL) – The Chinese Embassy in Somalia has expressed its disapproval to Taiwan and Somaliland’s decision to strengthen their relations on Monday, reiterating their ‘One China’ policy.
In a series of tweets, the Chinese embassy dismissed the partnership, saying the PRC represents ‘whole of China’ on the global stage.
“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.#Somalia#COVID-19”.
It went on to say that Taiwan could not diverge from China.
“We will never allow anyone, any organization or any political party to separate any piece of territory from China at any time or in any form. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.#Somalia#COVID-19”.
The tweets come a day after Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), and the breakaway African region of Somaliland will establish representative offices in each other’s capitals.
At the signing ceremony, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu revealed that the two signed an agreement in February and formalized it on July 1st, which happens to be Somali Independence Day.
“Our two governments have agreed to swap official representative offices under the titles of Taiwan representative office and Somaliland representative office based on our friendship and shared belief.”
Wu defended his government’s decision by pointing out that over a half dozen countries or international organizations have their official representative offices in Hargeisa.
“They have been recognized by many countries as a very free, democratic country in Africa,” he added. “So, in essence, Somaliland is an independent country.”
Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with just 15 countries.
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.#Somalia#COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/xOLYpidAG0
— Chinese Embassy in Somalia (@ChineseSomalia) July 1, 2020
The announcement was warmly welcomed by Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi who announced that his government would soon set up shop in Taipei.
The focus of the new strategic partnership will be on agriculture, education, energy, fisheries, health, information and communications, and mining.”
Although significant, the agreement falls short of establishing formal diplomatic relations.
However, China, which has spent the last decade cultivating significant commercial and military interests- including its first overseas military base- just north of Somaliland in Djibouti, has “resolutely” opposed the decision.
“There is general recognition of one China by countries around the world, a trend that has steadily grown. We resolutely oppose two Chinas, one China, one Taiwan, Taiwan independence, and the separatist forces advocating Taiwan independence and their separatist activities.#Somalia#”.
Taiwan is a highly urbanized island off the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from mainland China since fleeing after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China in 1949.
Despite losing mainland China, the Taiwanese government at the time known as Kuomintang (KMT) insisted that it was the legitimate Chinese government, a position reinforced by the United Nations until 1971 and Washington until 1979.
Although China and Taiwan aggressively disagree on the status of the island, both agree on the ‘One China’ Principle based on a murky understanding known as the 1992 Consensus.
The Chinese Embassy in Mogadishu doubled down on this position in their tweet on Thursday.
“The one-China principle is in keeping with the trend of the times and meets people’s desire. To realize China’s full reunification is an irresistible historical trend. Chinese people with 1.4 billion will firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.#Somalia”.