In brief

Taiwan and Somaliland set up mutual ‘embassies’

Both countries announce plans to cooperate in education, health, economic areas

Opening ceremony of the Somaliland office in Taiwan.
Opening ceremony of the Somaliland office in Taiwan. Author: MFA Somaliland @ Twitter
Somalia opened a representative office in Taiwan this week, after the Asian country had done so with the African country last month. The openings take place within the framework of a rapprochement between the two countries, who have announced plans to cooperate in areas such as education, health or economic.

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.