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Taiwan to deepen ties with Somaliland amid China intervention

Taipei, July 6 (CNA/Haatuf) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday reiterated Taiwan and Somaliland’s intention to deepen bilateral relations after a media report revealed multiple attempts by Beijing to persuade the self-declared state not to establish ties with Taiwan.

MOFA will not comment on reported efforts made by the
Chinese Embassy in Somalia to persuade Somaliland to halt contacts with Taiwan,
ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement in response
to queries from CNA.

Ou stressed that Taiwan and Somaliland’s efforts to
deepen bilateral cooperation will be based on longstanding friendships between
people and universal values such as freedom, democracy, justice and rule of
law.

She also said Taiwan will expand its cooperation with
Somaliland gradually in the fields of public health, energy, mining, education
and agriculture under the “Taiwan Model,” which promotes the
development of mutually beneficial relations.

Ou was responding to a news story published in the
Somaliland Chronicle on Sunday (local time).

The report said Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Mr. Qin
Jian (覃儉)
visited Somaliland twice over the past few months to persuade the Somaliland
government to cease all activities with Taiwan, citing multiple sources.

One of Qin’s offers was for Beijing to open a Chinese
Liaison Office in Hargeisa, according to the report.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation Yasin Hagi Mohamoud Hiir, declined Qin’s request, the report said.

Despite Beijing’s reported attempts to convinced Hargeisa
to stop working with Taipei, Ou said Taiwan will not yield to China’s
suppression and will continued to deepen cooperation with like-minded countries
and act as a “force for good” in the international community.

On July 1, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮)
announced that Taiwan and Somaliland reached agreement in February to exchange
representative offices.

Both sides recently named officials to head those
offices, although the date of the official opening of the offices has not yet
been announced.

Somaliland, situated in East Africa, declared
independence in 1991 after a civil war in Somalia. It is not recognized as a
country by the international community and has no official diplomatic ties with
any country.

Nevertheless, Somaliland has more than 20 representative
offices in various countries, while nations and international organizations
such as the United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, the European Union and the United
Nations maintain offices.

(By Emerson Lim)

Enditem/AW

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