On 1 July 2020, Somaliland-Taiwan signed a major strategic agreement. As part of this, they decided to establish representative offices in each other’s capitals. While there is no doubt that this is a major development for both countries, what does it mean in real terms? Does it mean that they now recognize each other as sovereign independent states?

James Ker-Lindsay, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a research associate at Oxford University, analyses in this new video about the strategic agreement between Somaliland-Taiwan.

The Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan, are two of the most prominent de facto states on the international stage. It was therefore major news when the two announced that they had signed a major strategic agreement that would expand the range of their relationship and see them set up representative offices in Taipei and Hargeisa. To be sure, it will have been a boost for both.


Despite reclaiming its independence 30 years ago, and have close relations with many countries, Somaliland is still unrecognized internationally. Likewise, in recent years Taiwan has seen the number of recognitions decline as the People’s Republic of China has persuade more and more countries to switch their recognition. This agreement will be a boost for both.

However, does it amount to formal recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations? On balance, it seems not. However, on closer inspection, it actually has the potential to deliver a lot more to both countries. I hope you found this video useful. If you did, please do press the ‘Like’ button. And don’t forget to subscribe and press the notification bell if you would like to be alerted to my future videos. Also, if you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to see me cover, please leave a comment below. Thank you.

Welcome to Independent Thinking. A channel dedicated to international relations, independence disputes, secession and the origins of countries.

About the author

James Ker-LindsayJames Ker-Lindsay, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a research associate at Oxford University. Academic and analyst with internationally recognized expertise in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus). Extensive experience working across Government, Private Sector, Higher Education, and Think Tanks. He has published over a dozen books on ethnic conflicts, secession, breakaway territories and recognition in international politics.

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