Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Wednesday vowed deeper cooperation with Somaliland to help overcome the shared predicament of international isolation.
Speaking during a meeting with his Somaliland counterpart Essa Kayd at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Wednesday, Wu said the two countries had a unique understanding given that both are largely unrecognized by the majority of the world’s countries and intergovernmental organizations.
“This is why Taiwan will continue to support Somaliland’s ongoing democratic construction and promote bilateral cooperation particularly in areas such as energy, telecommunications, agriculture, and medicine,” Wu told Kayd, who is currently leading a ministerial delegation to Taiwan.
Wu also proposed closer economic, trade, talent, and capacity-building exchanges in the years to come, according to a MOFA press release.
Meanwhile, Kayd expressed gratitude to both the private and public sectors in Taiwan for offering assistance to his country to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that Taiwan was an important partner of Somaliland and that both shared democratic values, such as freedom and human rights.
Kayd said Somaliland’s determination in strengthening relations with Taiwan would not change “despite external pressure,” a reference to attempts at coercion from both Somalia and China.
Relations between Taiwan and Somaliland have warmed over the years, with Taipei opening a representative office in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa on Aug. 17, 2020, and the Somaliland authorities opening a reciprocal office in Taipei the following month on Sept. 9.
Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China, only has diplomatic relations with 14 countries. Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after years of conflict, does not have formal ties with any states.
This is a result of neighboring countries — China and Somalia — holding irredentist claims over the self-ruled territories.
Taiwan and Somaliland have both circumvented this by opening representative offices in lieu of embassies in a number of world’s countries.
Despite warming relations, a MOFA official would not give a direct answer on Thursday when asked by reporters if Taiwan was mulling establishing official diplomatic relations with Somaliland.
Wu Cheng-wei (吳正偉), deputy chief of MOFA’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs, said Taiwan would continue to enhance relations with Somaliland on all fronts, without elaborating.
The delegation led by Kayd arrived in Taiwan on late Tuesday and will stay until Saturday.
Aside from meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other senior government officials, the delegation will also meet with local businesses representatives, including Taiwan’s state-run oil supplier, CPC Corp., to exchange views and discuss deepening bilateral cooperation, according to MOFA.