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Taiwan formalises relationship with Somaliland as Somalia's FGS fires back

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Republic of China formally known as Taiwan formalized her ties with the northern breakaway region of Somaliland early this week but the relationship has attracted condemnation from both Somali government and China, in a move which could irk political temperatures at Hargeisa and Mogadishu.

Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, hailed the partnership between Somaliland when Taipei opened offices in Hargeisa, further marking a serious step towards pushing for international recognition for both countries. She insisted that the decision to improve cooperation with Somaliland is in line with pushing for values of freedoms.

"An important milestone for the Taiwan-Somaliland partnership! Today we opened the Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland," she said. "We are bound together by our shared values of freedom, democracy, justice, and the rule of law, ideals that will guide our future cooperation."

Somaliland which claimed to have seceded from Somalia in 1991, started pushing for formal cooperation with Taiwan early this year but the deal was first made public in July this year. The two regions sent representatives to their capitals having unveiled consulates.

The cooperation has been lauded by a number of people who hold top diplomatic positions from Somaliland. Bashe Omar, the Somaliland envoy to Kenya, hailed the cooperation between Somaliland and Taiwan, adding that such a relationship will boost economic fortunes for both "nations".

"I have the honor to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the new Taiwan Representative Office in the Republic of Somaliland! The office that was opened today and witnessed by various diplomatic staff from various countries," he said.

"The office will work to strengthen the relations with other African countries and will strengthen closer cooperation between our two countries. Hon. Yassin Hagi our Foreign Affairs Minister oversaw the opening ceremony," he added.

But Mogadishu on Tuesday fired back at Taiwan, accusing authorities from Taipei of undermining her sovereignty and territorial integrity. In a tough-worded statement, Somalia insisted that it will defend her territory through "diplomatic" means including but not limited to using international law.

"The federal government of Somalia condemns Taiwan's reckless attempts to infringe sovereignty Somalia and violate its territorial integrity. The Federal Republic of Somalia stands to protect its integrity, the unity of people, and territorial integrity," read the statement.

"The FGS, therefore, urges Taiwan to cease its misinformed ventures into any part in the territory of Somalia. These principles are non-negotiable," Mogadishu added. A similar warning had been issued by China against Taiwan following the cooperation with Somaliland.

Currently, the Somali government is in talks with Somaliland following a peace truce which was brokered by Ethiopian PM Ahmed Abiy and Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh. However, no solution has been reached between the two factions.

Somaliland, just like Taiwan, has been running a parallel functional government and is considered to be more secure than Somalia. In July, the United States recognized the relationship between Somaliland and Taiwan, a decision which was fiercely criticized by China.