‘Born Free’: Somaliland Says China Can’t Dictate to It Over Taiwan

By Reuters
February 11, 2022 Updated: February 12, 2022

TAIPEI—China cannot dictate who Somaliland can have relations with as it was a sovereign nation, the foreign minister of the breakaway Somali region said on Friday during a trip to Taiwan.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence. The region has been mostly peaceful while Somalia has grappled with three decades of civil war.

Somaliland and Taiwan, which is also diplomatically isolated, set up representative offices in each other’s capitals in 2020, angering Beijing and Mogadishu.

The Chinese regime claims Taiwan as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution.

Strategically situated on the Horn of Africa, Somaliland borders Djibouti, where the Chinese communist regime maintains its first ever overseas military base.

Speaking to reporters, Somaliland Foreign Minister Essa Kayd said the Chinese regime cannot dictate to his country.

“We were born free and we will stay free. We will run our business the way we want. China cannot dictate, no other country can dictate.”

Kayd added that they were open to dealing with anyone who respected them as a sovereign country and wanted to do business without any strings or conditions.

“I think that’s as clear as I can go on China.”

Taiwan has been all but driven out of Africa diplomatically by the Chinese regime in recent years, with only tiny Eswatini now maintaining full relations with the island.

The Chinese regime has ramped up pressure on countries not to engage with Taiwan, and both frequently trade barbs about using “dollar diplomacy” with loans and cash gifts in exchange for international recognition.

Somaliland Finance Minister Saad Ali Shire said his country had made no requests so far to borrow from Taiwan.

“There has been a flow of funds from Taiwan to Somaliland in the form of aid and in the form of investment, which we welcome.”