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The Chinese ambassador to Somalia, Qin Jian, has arrived in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland on Saturday for talks with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and representatives from the President’s office, according to sources from Somaliland government.

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This is the third visit by Mr. Qin Jian to Somaliland. However, this time Jian’s trip to Hargeisa comes after Somaliland recently agreed to swap representative offices with Taiwan, which Beijing sees as part of China.

According to diplomatic sources, the Chinese government has been pressuring Somaliland to ditch Taiwan even before the public announcement of the new relations between Hargeisa and Taipei.

The Ambassador’s visits were centered on dissuading Somaliland from establishing bilateral ties with Taiwan. According to sources, Somaliland has strongly rejected the Ambassador’s offer for a Chinese liaison office in Hargeisa in exchange for ceasing talks with Taipei.

Sources add that the Ambassador’s itinerary does not include a meeting with President Muse Bihi Abdi.

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The government in Beijing had strongly rejected the diplomatic ties between the two, insisting that Taiwan was part of China and could not enter into diplomatic relations with any entity on its own.

In early July this year, Chinese Ambassador Qin Jian together with the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdillahi Farmajo issued a strong statement opposing the bilateral ties between Somaliland and Taiwan and reiterated their mutual commitment to the territorial integrity of China and Somalia.

Similar to Somalia’s territorial claim over Somaliland, China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes any diplomatic ties with Taipei.

It is unclear if Ambassador Jian’s mission to Somaliland is to deliver an ultimatum from Beijing given his country’s strong statement and commitment to Somalia’s territorial integrity and opposition to Somaliland’s independence.

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