The US has lauded the new diplomatic relations between Somaliland and Taiwan in what could escalate tensions with China which has vehemently condemned the deal.
Responding to an article by the Associated Press on the Taiwan-Somaliland deal, the National Security Council sounded up beat about the development which saw President Mohamed Farmaajo host the Chinese ambassador to assure him of his country’s support.
“Great to see Taiwan stepping up its engagement in East Africa in a time of such tremendous need. Taiwan is a great partner in health, education, technical assistance, and more!,” the UNSC tweeted.
China and US have in recent months had rocky relations the latest being China’s passage and implementation of a security law to tame dissenting voices of Hong Kong.
Somaliland and Taiwan have since appointed representative to each other’s territories following the announcement July 1 of a pact to establish diplomatic relations.
Chinese ambassador to Somalia Qin Jian rubbished the deal noting Taiwan was part of 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,” the ambassador tweeted.
President Farmaajo followed it up with a meeting with Jian and asserted Mogadishu’s position on Beijing.
“President Farmaajo reiterated that Somalia respects “One-China Policy” whilst, on the other hand, denounced Taiwan’s violation of the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Somalia,” a statement from Villa Somalia read in part.
The US is the largest donor to Somalia through support of African Union troops, humanitarian aid and development aid and has maintained a strong support of the Federal Government in the last three years.
The positive nod to the Taiwan-Somaliland deal which upsets both Somalia and China is likely to open another round of tension in the Horn of Africa as two of the world’s major powers bring their battle to the region.
The UAE, an ally of the US is building a military base in Somaliland’s Berbera port in addition to running a 30 year Berbera port concession. Somalia has contested both deals.
Upwards the Horn is Djibouti where both the US and China maintain military bases as they seek to have sway over the Horn of Africa and the crucial Bal el Mandeb strait.