As a “sovereign” and “born free” nation, China cannot dictate who Somaliland can relate with it, the foreign minister of the breakaway Somali region said on Friday.
Ever since Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991, it has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence.
Somaliland Foreign Minister Essa Kayd during the trip to Taiwan which has been condemned by Beijing said China 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.”
He said the breakaway nation is open to dealing with anyone who respected them as a sovereign country and wanted to do business without any strings or conditions.
Somaliland borders Djibouti, where China maintains its first ever overseas military base.
Somaliland and Taiwan’s set up of representative offices in each other’s capitals in 2020 angered Beijing and Mogadishu. China has claimed both countries as its own territory.
Taiwan was “fanning the flames to undermine the independence and unification of other countries, harming others without benefiting themselves” by hosting a senior ministerial delegation from Somaliland, China’s Foreign Ministry said this week.
In recent year, only eSwatini now maintains full relations with Taiwan that was diplomatically driven out of Africa by China that has ramped up pressure on countries not to engage with Taiwan as it seeks to assert its sovereignty claims.