Two unlikely territories and the world’s most diplomatically elected governments — Taiwan and Somaliland — are deepening economic and political ties, but all too often, Taipei looks the other way as its formal partners commit human rights abuses, notes a recent analysis published by The Diplomat.
Two of the world’s most diplomatically isolated governments are stepping up cooperation on many fronts as “champions of democracies in Africa and Asia,” Somaliland’s foreign minister, Essa Kayd Mohamoud, said on a landmark visit to Taipei in September last year. “This historic visit marks an important milestone,” he said during his meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai hailed the relationship as one of her administration’s chief diplomatic breakthroughs. Somaliland declared independence from Somalia during the 1991 civil war, while China sees Taiwan as its own territory, whereby neither territory is recognized by the United Nations.
The two territories are stepping up cooperation, such as the first Taiwan-Somaliland Joint Energy and Mineral Resources Cooperation Working Group Meeting held in March, which underscored the two sides’ commitment to expanding energy cooperation and strengthening ties.
But conflict and election delays in Somaliland have in recent months cooled Western optimism about the territory. Somaliland’s image as an “oasis of stability” in the Horn of Africa, which conducted disarmaments and democratic elections despite lacking international recognition, has recently been eroded by delayed elections that were initially scheduled for last year and the escalating clan tensions. Although Taiwanese media have also reported about these developments, legislators seemed uninterested in examining Taiwan’s support for Somaliland’s government, according to the analysis published by The Diplomat.
Against this backdrop, Taiwanese president called Taiwan and Somaliland “like-minded partners who share the values of democracy and freedom,” the analysis notes.