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A government delegation led by top Chinese diplomats from foreign affairs ministry arrived in Hargeisa on Tuesday for an official three days visit to discuss the recent diplomatic engagement between Taiwan-Somaliland.

Despite the primary discussion that will focus on Taiwan’s recent diplomatic engagement with Somaliland, the Chinese diplomats are expected to make a series of talks focusing on development on the critical economic and social sectors.

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The Chinese delegation is expected to be led by the Principle Director of Embassies and Consulates.
Credible sources indicate the delegation, which includes Somalia and Beijing-based diplomats will meet the Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and other government officials in the next few days to discuss their future relations.

The outcome of the upcoming discussion is unlikely to produce a meaningful result on the significant area of concern—Somaliland’s new diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

This came just one day after reports that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi is weighing the possibility of unilateral recognition of Taiwan.

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Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday declined to comment on the issue, which if confirmed will certainly anger Somalia, a neighboring nation that claims Somaliland as part of its territory, not to mention China. The ministry has full knowledge of the situation and remains in close communication with Somaliland authorities, according to MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安).

The Chinese ambassador to Somalia, Qin Jian, has been in Hargeisa since August 1, where he met with senior officials at the Somaliland foreign affairs ministry.

The trip by the Chinese delegation comes barely a month after Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced at a press conference in Taipei that Taiwan and Somaliland signed an agreement in February to set up representative offices in each other’s territory.

Both sides have already appointed representatives to head those offices, although the date of their official opening is yet to announced.

The governments of China and Somalia have condemned the diplomatic moves. Beijing considers Taiwan as part of its territory, and Mogadishu sees Somaliland in the same way.

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