The offices will largely fulfil the functions usually assigned to embassies, but they cannot be named so because the two countries do not recognise each other.
In fact, Somaliland is not recognised as an independent country by any state in the world, although it has been acting as such for the last 30 years.
Taiwan currently receives official recognition from some 15 states, not as an independent country, but as the legitimate government of the whole of China. Of these, the most populous is Guatemala.
Additionally, 50 other countries —many Europeans— retain relations with the island of the kind that Somaliland has now begun.
Beijing has been pressing for years for countries recognising Taiwan to sever ties with Taipei, and establish official relations with mainland China instead. El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati are the last states to have broken relations with Taipei.
Some analysts believe that Taiwan’s interest in establishing relations with Somaliland is linked to the search for a diplomatic victory, after those recent setbacks.