Somaliland and Taiwan established representative offices in each other’s territories three years ago, but due to COVID, bilateral exchanges were rather limited. On Friday, a lawmaker in Taiwan established an inter-parliamentary amity friendship association to boost ties.
The group is headed by Lin Ching-yi, who previously worked as a medical worker in Somaliland. Lin recently tested positive for COVID, so on Friday she voiced her hopes for the group in a prerecorded video message. Let’s hear from her.
Taiwan’s Legislative Secretary-General Lin Jih-Jia says he hopes the establishment of the association will facilitate a stronger relationship between the two parties.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Ching-yi was made chairwoman of the association at a ceremony at the legislature in Taipei.
“In face of China’s threats to our democracy, economy, and peace, we are extremely grateful to have one more friend, Somaliland. Many countries in Africa are cooperating with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But their engagement with that has led to economic and political problems” DPP lawmaker Lin Ching-yi said.
Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui says Taiwan and Somaliland both share democratic values, and says he looks forward to more collaboration on medicine, agriculture, fisheries, and information technology.
“We adhere to the spirit of real diplomacy and mutual help when engaging with the international community. There’s cooperation in medicine, fisheries, agriculture, and telecommunications. We also offer scholarships. Currently, there are 50-something scholars from Somaliland studying in Taiwan. We want to deepen and broaden our cooperation,” Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui said.
Somaliland’s representative to Taiwan Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud says Somaliland and Taiwan share similar core values, including democracy and freedom, and the two are committed to pushing back against authoritarianism. He also says Somaliland supports Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, such as at the World Health Assembly as an observer, and the International Criminal Police Organization, among others. ”Somaliland is the closest country to Taiwan in Africa. It’s poised to become Taiwan’s gateway to East Africa: 19 African countries with a combined population of 500 million people” Ambassador Hagi said.
Somaliland has been self-governing since 1991 when it declared independence from Somalia. It has abundant natural resources, including oil. Already Taiwan’s state-run refiner CPC has signed an agreement with the government of Somaliland to launch prospecting operations. Lawmakers hope the amity association will further boost Taiwan-Somaliland ties.
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