Relations between Taipei and Hargeisa have been condemned by Somalia and China, who have mooted the idea of joint naval patrols
Editors: Nicola Smith, and Sophia Yan September 7
Taiwan opened a representative office in Somaliland in August CREDIT: EPAIt may have built up formidable military might and wield enormous diplomatic and economic clout, but China has been forced onto the defensive by a blossoming alliance of two small democracies who are barely recognized by the rest of the world. Growing ties between Taiwan and Somaliland have triggered a frantic diplomatic counter-offensive from Beijing, and reportedly pushed it to raise the prospect of Chinese naval patrols with Somalia in the waters around the globally strategic Horn of Africa. Somaliland, which lies in East Africa, south of Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden, unilaterally declared itself independent in 1991, but has struggled to gain recognition from any other nation, even though it maintains informal ties with some foreign governments. On Wednesday it plans to open a de facto embassy in Taiwan, a democratic East Asian island of 23 million, bringing Taipei and Hargeisa one step closer to formally acknowledging each other as countries. Taiwan in August already marked the strengthening political and business ties by opening its own representation in Somaliland, immediately prompting sharp rebukes from Somalia, which claims Somaliland territory and refutes its right to independence, and China, which seeks to annex Taiwan.
The proposed naval cooperation was reported in July in the Somaliland Chronicle citing diplomatic and defense sources, and later in Real Clear Defense, a US news-site specializing in military and security matters. Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at DC think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, who wrote the latter article, urged US forces to make a port call to Somaliland to reaffirm its strategic importance to regional counter-terrorism and defense operations that were already vulnerable to Chinese military expansion. Somaliland, with its 460-mile Gulf of Aden coastline, is an important asset to the defense of the Red Sea and key shipping routes integral to the petroleum industry. During the Cold War the deep-water Berbera port hosted a US rapid deployment force.
Forwarded by Prof. Suleiman Egeh a freelance writer, analyst and a senior science instructor