First Somaliland representative to Taiwan arrives

08/09/2020 04:33 PM
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Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud. Photo: twitter.com/mohamed_hagi
Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud. Photo: twitter.com/mohamed_hagi

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Sunday welcomed Somaliland's first representative who arrived in the country Friday in preparation for the upcoming opening of the self-claimed African state's representative office in Taiwan.

In a tweet, Wu welcomed the arrival of Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, saying he has "braved Chinese pressure" to take up the post in Taiwan. "The fact 'sovereignty & friendship aren't for sale' deserves international recognition," Wu tweeted.

Wu was referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending exchanges with Taiwan.

On July 1, Taiwan and the self-claimed East African state announced that they would open representative offices within each other's borders.

Mohamoud, a political scientist, researcher and analyst, was later announced as Somaliland's first representative to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's foreign ministry appointed Lou Chen-hwa (羅震華), a counselor at the nation's representative office in Saudi Arabia, as its representative to Somaliland.

According to the ministry, the Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland and Somaliland Representative Office in Taiwan will open later this month or next month.

In his Sunday tweet, Wu also thanked the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) for commending Taiwan-Somaliland ties.

An NSC tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan for "stepping up its engagement in East Africa," adding that Taiwan is a great partner in health, education, technical assistance, among other areas.

Meanwhile, in a tweet posted late Saturday, representative Mohamoud announced his arrival a day earlier while stressing that Somaliland is ready to enhance relations with Taiwan.

"#Somaliland-#Taiwan relations will always remain intact. We are ready to establish good relations with all countries -- those we share values of democracy are special," he tweeted.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

Although not recognized as a country by any other nation, Somaliland has established more than 20 representative offices around the world, while several countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, maintain offices in its capital Hargeisa.

(By Chen Yun-yu and Joseph Yeh)

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