Tensions flared between Somaliland and China following a high-profile delegation from Somaliland attending Taiwan’s presidential inauguration in Taipei.

China’s embassy in Somalia issued a stern statement, exposing discrepancies in Beijing’s position on the issue. The statement reaffirmed China’s commitment to the “one-China principle” regarding Taiwan, likely endorsed by China’s Foreign Ministry.

“Over the past few years, many countries and individuals have reaffirmed their support for one-China policy and support for China’s opposition to Taiwan’s independence. This demonstrates that the international community commitment to the one-China principle is unshakeable,” the statement read.


China recognizes the federal government of Somalia as the only legitimate government representing Somalia, including Somaliland. It supports Somalia’s efforts to stamp authority on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement noted.

Somaliland and China Clash Over Taiwan Connection
Historical meeting between the 16th President of Taiwan, William Lai with Somaliland delegation.

In response, Somaliland’s Ambassador to Taiwan, Dr. Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, defended Somaliland’s sovereignty, emphasizing its independent status and democratic governance. “Somaliland is an independent sovereign state, maintaining control over its territory and governed by a functioning democratic government elected by its citizens,” he stated.

Dr. Mohamed Hagi refuted claims of Somaliland’s inclusion within Somalia, citing the country’s autonomy and democratic governance structure. He stated, “The assertion by some states that Somaliland is part of Somalia is not substantiated by the current realities. Conversely, Somalia struggles with systemic dysfunction and lacks effective control over its own territory. Diplomatic statements contrary to these facts fail to alter the on-ground truth.”

Despite China’s assertion of global backing for its stance, Taiwan continues to foster relationships with various nations, including the United States and European countries. The presence of the Somaliland delegation at Taiwan’s ceremony on May 20 drew criticism from China, which maintains that Somaliland falls under Somalia’s jurisdiction.

The statement highlighted ongoing debates within Somaliland regarding ties with Taiwan versus China. While some favor alignment with Taiwan, others advocate for improved relations with China, prompting discussions within the Waddani opposition party.

Somaliland and China Clash Over Taiwan ConnectionMeanwhile, after the statement from the Chinese Embassy, a reply from Waddani Chairman Dr. Abdirahman Abdillahi Cirro’s official account simply said “ok,” leading to various discussions and interpretations about its significance and the party’s stance on the issue. The reply was later deleted.

In a seeming contradiction to the ground reality and the Republic of Somaliland’s sovereignty, China asserts that the “Federal Government of Somalia” has sole jurisdiction over Somaliland, seeing it as part of Somalia. This undermines Somaliland’s aspirations for independence, which China fears could support Taiwan’s independence movement.

In 2020, Somaliland and Taiwan established formal ties, prompting strong condemnation from Beijing. China tried to lure Somaliland away from Taiwan with promises of aid and investment but shifted to a hostile stance after failing.

Somaliland and China Clash Over Taiwan Connection
Historical meeting between 16th President of Taiwan William Lai with Somaliland delegation.

President Muse Bihi Abdi rejected China’s offer of a conditional development package in exchange for severing ties with Taiwan, affirming Somaliland’s commitment to strengthen relations with Taiwan. This move prioritized Somaliland’s strategic interests over China’s economic incentives.

U.S. Congressman Mike Smith criticized China’s tactics towards Taiwan and Somaliland as counterproductive. “China’s aggressive tactics to isolate Taiwan and pressure the Republic of Somaliland are counterproductive and alarming,” stated U.S. Congressman Mike Smith, reflecting US government concerns regarding Beijing’s coercion and confrontation strategy in international diplomacy.

Taiwan has not officially responded but indicated it will maintain relations with entities recognizing it, including Somaliland.

China’s harsh statement from its Somalia embassy reflects Beijing’s erratic behavior in restricting Taiwan’s global engagement, including threats and military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. Analysts warn that China’s increasing stance on Taiwan risks escalating tensions and isolating itself internationally. Their opposition to Somaliland’s ties with Taiwan shows a reluctance to accept geopolitical realities, which could destabilize the region.