The attention International Community began to pay to Taiwan & Somaliland ties

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, right, and his counterpart from Somaliland, Yasin Hagi Mohamoud shake hands after signing an agreement for setting up representative offices in their respective territories in Taipei on Feb. 26, 2020. Taiwan has scored a rare diplomatic victory in establishing relations with the independent region of Somaliland, according to a July 1, 2020 post on the on the Taiwanese foreign ministry's website. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

Diplomatic relations:Taiwan’s flag in Somaliland

The two unrecognized states are establishing ties – to the annoyance of China and Somalia. Two military powers are fighting for influence.

BERLIN taz | Two internationally unrecognized states are looking to join forces: An embassy of the Republic of Taiwan was opened on Monday in Hargeisa, capital of the Republic of Somaliland. Taiwan’s national anthem was played when the flags of both countries were hoisted in a festive ceremony in front of a restored old building with a red banner that read, “Taiwan Representative Office Opening Ceremony.” Commentators spoke of a “historic moment”.

It is definitely a moment that annoys others. Officially , Somaliland is considered part of Somalia and Taiwan is part of China . The two countries are the most prominent non-internationally recognized states in the world and both feel they have been treated unfairly.

Taiwan, which has had its own statehood since 1949, is a democracy and economically ahead of the People’s Republic; Somaliland, which declared itself independent in 1991, is the only part of Somalia where there is a functioning state and where radical Islamists have never taken power.

For decades, the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan competed in Africa for diplomatic recognition. Most recently, Taiwan gave up the race and is only recognized by the little Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in southern Africa. But precisely because of this, the rapprochement between Somaliland and Taiwan is a historic turning point.

Somaliland is strategically located

Somaliland emerged from the former British Somaliland, which after the end of colonial rule in 1960 voluntarily merged with the southeastern Italian Somalia colony to form the Republic of Somalia. When Somalia sank into civil war, rebels in the former Somaliland went their own way and proclaimed their own state.

But this step was not supported by other states, and to this day the international community, including the African Union, only recognizes Somalia and expects Somaliland to comply.

With its strategic location on the Gulf of Aden and the deep sea port of Berbera and the associated airport with the longest runway on the continent, Somaliland is interesting even without diplomatic status. The port of Berbera was leased to DP World from Dubai in 2017, and the United Arab Emirates have since invested heavily in Somaliland – directly across from the Gulf of Aden is the civil war country of Yemen , where the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are fighting against Iran-backed rebels.

Right next door in Djibouti – the former French Somaliland – there are military bases for France, the USA and the People’s Republic of China, including troops from Germany, among others. And the rest of Somalia with the capital Mogadishu has opened up strongly to Turkey and Qatar in recent years. The Horn of Africa is the stage for a race between military powers from all over the world for spheres of influence.

Pro-western axis in the Horn of Africa

Against this background, Taiwan’s advance into Somaliland is of paramount importance. Already agreed at the beginning of July, its implementation will follow directly after the establishment of relations between Israel and the Arab Emirates – which makes a previously invisible pro-Western axis in the Horn of Africa appear. The Chinese government in Beijing, together with Somalia’s government in Mogadishu, had previously tried in vain to dissuade Somaliland’s government from its Taiwan course.

The pro-government Jerusalem Post in Israel devoted an in-depth analysis to Somaliland on Monday, titled “Why Israel Should Care About Somaliland,” with the conclusion: “As geopolitical changes in the region of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt in a narrower Bringing together a network of common interests, Somaliland could become important for this group of countries. Because it kept extremism at bay and also plays an important role in the Horn of Africa in relation to Yemen. “



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