[[Puntland Republic 🇸🇱]]PIM[[C.S(BihinYusuf)]
China unites with Somalia against growing Taiwanese-Somaliland ties
When China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with his counterpart in Somalia on Monday, they had a common mission - to resist Taiwanese inroads into what the Horn of Africa nation considers its territory.
They both want an end to the Taiwanese-Somaliland relationship, which Wang said threatened "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity" of China and Somalia.
During the phone call, Somali Foreign Minister Abdisaid Muse Ali promised to push back against the self-ruled island's relationship with Somaliland, which split from Somalia three decades ago and set up mutual representative offices with Taipei in 2020.
"Somalia opposes the collusion between Taiwan and Somaliland, which violates the sovereignty of Somalia, and will continue its strategic and practical cooperation with China," Abdisaid said.
Somaliland is diplomatically isolated like Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory. Only eSwatini - previously Swaziland - now recognises Taipei in Africa.
Somaliland has set up representative offices in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the US in a bid to win international support for its full recognition.
There have been growing calls for Washington to set up a representative office in Somaliland, which welcomed a congressional staff delegation to its capital Hargeisa in mid-December.
Wang promised Chinese help with the reconstruction of Somalia's infrastructure, destroyed by years of war with al-Shabab, a jihadist fundamentalist group. He also said China would promote its Belt and Road Initiative - President Xi Jinping's signature trade and infrastructure development plan.
"China will continue to assist Somalia's reconstruction and development ... provide much needed humanitarian supplies, and discuss the implementation of livelihood improvement projects in safer regions," Wang said, according to a statement released byy China's foreign ministry.
Observers said Beijing and Mogadishu had been angered by last month's visitto Taipei by a Somaliland delegation, led by Foreign Minister Essa Kayd Mohamoud.
"This relationship is regarded by both Somalia and China as a violation of their sovereignty," said Abdalgani Aid Almi, a lecturer at New Generation University's Hargeisa campus.
While Beijing regards the return of Taiwan to mainland control as a priority, weak Somalia is facing more pressing issues than the undermining of its sovereignty, Almi said.
"It is for China to negotiate with Somaliland and promise alternatives to quit this relationship," he said.
According to David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Beijing's increasing contact with Somalia is a result of its deep unhappiness with Somaliland and its flirtation with Taiwan.
He pointed out that China provided only modest financial support for the African Union's peacekeeping effort in Somalia and had not otherwise been involved in efforts to combat the al-Shabab terrorist threat.
When China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with his counterpart in Somalia on Monday, they had a common mission - to resist Taiwanese inroads into what the Horn of Africa nation considers its territory. They both want an end to the Taiwanese-Somaliland relationship, which Wang said threatened...