The Taiwanese city of Changhua is in advanced plans of twinning a counterpart in Somaliland.
This was revealed during a festivities that were part of commemorations marking the Changhua county’s 3000th anniversary in which Somaliland was represented by her envoy to that country , Ambassador Mohamed Hagi.
The diplomat who got the opportunity to rub shoulders with the mayor/ chief magistrate of the wider Changhua County government mayor Wang HuiMei , was at the function upon official invitation by the mayor of Changhua local government Councillor Shish-Hsien Lin.
Changhua is the capital city of the wider Changhua County which was established In 1723 , situated in the mid-western part of the Island nation and faces the vast Taiwan Strait in the west.
To demonstrate importance the county government’s attaches to the development of education the commemorations which are usually held as an art and cultural carnival saw guests entertained with 300 presentations from 213 elementary and junior high schools from various townships in the county.
The Somaliland envoy and his team were introduced to traditional Taiwanese dance, martial arts, Taiko, ocarina, Chinese music, north-south pipe and orchestral music as well as sports competition.
At a post celebrations meeting between Amb Hagi and Mayor Shish-Hsien Lin it was revealed that the Changhua city shall twin with a city in Somaliland soon , a move that will ensue with the prospective partner benefitting from local government managementaccrued over three centuries existence.
Though no names were mentioned and in lieu of the Taiwanese city’s size , beneficiary is expected to be either of the six main Somaliland Local councils of Borama, Hargeisa, Berbera, Burao Las Anod and Erigavo.
The Relations between Somaliland and Taiwan were formally established in 2020 and despite the ire of China and Somalia , Taipei and Hargeisa have pursued stronger ties after swapping de facto embassies that coordinate various partnership Including education, investment, humanitarian, developmental, mining, oil exploration, agricultural programs among many.
Somalia referred to the establishment of the representative offices as a “reckless attempt” to infringe on its sovereignty. China accused Taiwan of “acting with desperation.”
Somaliland declared independence from Somaliaduring the 1991 civil war but remains unrecognized by much of the international community. Despite Somaliland being a picture of stability in the region, Somalia refers to it as an infringement on its sovereignty.
Similarly, China sees Taiwan as its own territory, indulging in saber-rattling, which has increased markedly under President Xi Jinping.
Taiwan has diplomatic ties with just 14 countries, including just one African nation, the kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland.
With neither Taiwan nor Somaliland being recognized by the United Nations the world’s two most diplomatically isolated governments are deepening economic and political ties,”
The two finding themselves in a similar position with both being self-governing democracies that remain unrecognized by most of the world, their relations amidst political and diplomatic obstacles from China and Somalia is set for greater heights and depth as stated by Somaliland foreign minister Dr Essa Kayd during a visit to Taipei.
Kayd applauded the “special and historical relationship” between “our two countries,” which he referred to as the “two champions of democracies in Africa and Asia.”
“This historic visit marks an important milestone,” he said during his meeting Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
In reference to the international campaign against these relations by China and Somalia the Somaliland FM said “All coercive or threatening measures to deny such collaboration between international partners… do little to promote the peace and security that the region and the world require.”
President Tsai hailed the relationship as one of her administration’s chief diplomatic breakthroughs.
As of the proposed twinning Changhua City is home to 235,022 residents and the largest city besides the six special municipalities of Taiwan, it is also the largest and capital of 1,074.396 km2 sized Changhua County made up of 2 city boroughs and 24 (6 urban, 18 rural) townships with a total population of over 2m.
The name, “Changhua,” that literally means a “manifestation of a royal civilization”; shall upon venturing into Somaliland shall greatly exemplify the cordial and mutually beneficial relations with Taiwan.
Administratively the Changhua city council is under the Changhua County Government both of which are in office courtesy of elections held every four years.
In contrast the administration structure in Somaliland has local council elected every five years while they fall under a regional administration that is appointed by the central government.
Somalilanders react to the announcement of Changhua city twinning one of theirs