Somaliland Breaks Ranks And Defies China

The African nation says no to foreign influence, including the U.S., with remarkable success.

The American Conservative
Date: July 15, 2020
By: Michael Horton

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Office of the Russian President) and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi (GettyImages)

The unrecognized Republic of Somaliland recently did what few African states do: it defied China. On July 1, Somaliland and Taiwan, another nation not recognized by the United Nations, agreed to exchange ambassadors and open embassies in their respective capitals. The Chinese government is not accustomed to such rebuffs and has condemned the move by saying that Taiwan is undermining the territorial integrity of Somalia.

Somaliland, like Taiwan, fulfills the requirements for statehood as laid out in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. In the case of Somaliland, it was a British protectorate that was, albeit briefly, an independent country before it chose to enter into a union with Somalia, a former Italian colony. 

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 after fighting a brutal war against Somalia’s longtime dictator Siad Barre. Barre’s government engaged in genocide against Somalilanders, famously ordering his pilots to take off from Hargeisa’s airport, Somaliland’s capital and largest city, and bomb the city.

When Somaliland declared its independence, Hargeisa was in ruins. Somalilanders have spent the last 30 years rebuilding their cities and, most importantly, establishing a functioning democracy. Even more than Taiwan, which has enjoyed US support, Somalilanders have rebuilt their country with little outside assistance.     [FULL  STORY]

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