July 1, 2020
On behalf of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu announced in a press conference on July 1 that agreement has been reached with the Republic of Somaliland on the mutual establishment of Representative Offices based on bilateral friendship and a shared commitment to common values of freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law. The offices will be named the Taiwan Representative Office and Somaliland Representative Office, respectively. In the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefit, Taiwan and Somaliland will engage in cooperation in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, energy, mining, public health, education and ICT.
At the press conference, Minister Wu stated that the government of Taiwan, seeking to promote cooperative relations with African nations and expand its engagement with East Africa, had conducted consultations with the government of Somaliland, which resulted in the Bilateral Protocol by and between the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of the Republic of Somaliland. Signed on February 26, 2020, in Taipei by Minister Wu and Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, the Bilateral Protocol expressed agreement on the mutual establishment of official Representative Offices. Following the signing, Minister Mohamoud also had an audience with President Tsai Ing-wen.
Minister Wu further noted that Taiwanese personnel arrived in Somaliland on February 6 this year and that preparations for the opening of the Taiwan Representative Office are ongoing. An official date for the opening ceremony will be decided based on consultations with the Somaliland government. Once the two Representative Offices officially commence operations, Taiwan and Somaliland will work together in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, energy, mining, public health, education and ICT. Minister Wu expressed confidence that, with the support of the two governments, the mutually beneficial and friendly ties between Taiwan and Somaliland will be further deepened.
Taiwan has gradually cultivated cordial interactions with Somaliland since 2009, added Minister Wu. The two sides have collaborated on enhancing maritime security, healthcare and education. Through the Healthcare Personnel Training Program of the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), Taiwan previously provided training to 23 medical professionals from Somaliland. Currently, three young students from Somaliland are pursuing academic degrees in Taiwan under the Taiwan Scholarship program. In addition to government endeavors, Taiwan nongovernmental organizations have also been active in Somaliland. In January this year, Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps sent a delegation to Somaliland for the third time to conduct free clinics in 10 regions, serving a total of 2,880 patients.
Minister Wu stated that the Somaliland government fully recognizes the Taiwan Model of international cooperation and seeks to learn from Taiwan’s experience while continuing to deepen collaboration with Taiwan. The government of Taiwan supports the Somaliland government in its efforts to advance democracy and freedom. Taiwan is more than willing to implement development projects focused on capacity building through the TaiwanICDF in order to benefit the Somaliland people. Based on steadfast diplomacy, Taiwan is committed to showcasing its spirit of international fraternity.
Somaliland is situated in the Horn of Africa, with a population of 3.9 million. The country possesses rich fisheries resources and nearby waters serve as important international fishing grounds.(E)