Ministers from the self-ruling African state of Somaliland met Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, after flying in the night before. The group is led by Somaliland foreign minister Essa Kayd Mohamoud.

Speaking to her visitors, President Tsai Ing-wen hailed the close friendship between Taiwan and the East African nation.

Somaliland’s foreign minister said his country was eager to attract Taiwanese investors, who are welcome to explore its reserves of oil and gas. He also spoke out against China’s interference in Somaliland’s relationship with Taiwan.


They wave to the cameras and give a thumbs-up. A delegation led by Somaliland’s foreign minister arrived in Taiwan Tuesday evening. They met a high-level reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entrance, where the flags of Somaliland and Taiwan were on display, side by side.

Ye Pei-hsuan, FTV reporter

In 2020, Somaliland and Taiwan established representative offices in each other’s territories but did not form official diplomatic relations. But during this visit of Somaliland officials, the flags of both Taiwan and Somaliland have been put up outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicating that Taiwan regards Somaliland as a “quasi-diplomatic ally.”

On Twitter, Somaliland’s foreign minister posted a photo of the two flags. He said that Taiwan was not only an ally to Somaliland, but had become a part of Somaliland’s people and country. “I am pleased to finally visit Taiwan,” he wrote. His first stop in Taiwan was the Presidential Office, where he was received by President Tsai Ing-wen. In her remarks, Tsai brought up Taiwan’s donation of Medigen vaccines to Somaliland.

Taiwanese President Tsai Receives Delegation From Somaliland
President Tsai Ing-wen (right) speaks when receiving Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Essa Kayd Mohamoud at the Presidential Office. CNA photo Feb. 9, 2022

President Tsai Ing-wen

Taiwan has made a number of diplomatic breakthroughs in the past few years. Not least of which is our new friendship in Africa with Somaliland. Establishing representative offices in each other’s nations in 2020 has allowed us to grow from being new friends to close friends. Somaliland is now an important location in Eastern Africa for the implementation of Taiwan’s “Africa Project.” A shipment of 150,000 doses of our domestically developed Medigen vaccine recently arrived in Somaliland. In fact, this is the first time Taiwan has donated vaccines overseas.

Somaliland’s foreign minister addressed China’s attempts to block ties between his country and Taiwan. He emphasized that the friendship between the two countries would not succumb to pressure from external forces and that Somaliland would insist on maintaining good relations with Taiwan.

Somaliland Pitches Huge Oil And Gas Potential During Taiwan Trip
Somaliland Foreign Minister Essa Kayd Mohamoud attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan February 9, 2022. Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via REUTERS

Essa Kayd Mohamoud, Somaliland foreign minister

As a sovereign nation, Somaliland’s right to engage in peaceful and foreign relations with all other nations is enshrined in international law. And all coercive or threatening measures to deny such collaboration between international partners, not only represent an affront to the principles, protocols, and norms on which the international order is based, but does little to promote the peace and security that the region and the world require.

Somaliland’s foreign minister said that Somaliland had vast investment potential in the oil and natural gas sector, and he encouraged Taiwanese enterprises to set up shop in Somaliland. During his five-day stay, he and his delegation will visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Council of Agriculture, the Coast Guard Administration, and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

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