The Chinese Ambassador to Somalia, Mr. Fei Shengchao took one Somaliland on social media ridiculing the country over its links with Taiwan.
But Somaliland responded in a statement condemning China for its actions against Taiwan.
Somaliland in a tweet criticized China for its territorial claims and actions towards Taiwan.
In a statement posted on the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account, stated that China’s actions towards Taiwan were causing problems and that Somaliland supported Taiwan.
The exchange between Somaliland and the Chinese ambassador comes amid heightened tensions between China and Taiwan, with China asserting claims over Taiwan and repeatedly threatening to take military action.
Somaliland, which maintains a relationship with Taiwan, is believed to be siding with them. However, neither Somaliland nor Taiwan is recognized as sovereign states by the international community.
Both Taiwan and Somaliland appear to be fully functioning states which proudly declare their independence yet neither is recognised internationally.
Although some see their relationship as bizarre, Somaliland and Taiwan are in many ways natural bedfellows.
Both are unrecognised internationally and both have larger neighbours – Somalia and China – which insist they are part of their territories.
Somaliland and Taiwan established diplomatic relations three years to the fury of those neighbours.
Somalia denounced Taiwan for becoming friends with Somaliland. Chinese officials travelled to Somaliland and insisted it sever ties with Taiwan.
It is possible that China sees Taiwan’s relationship with Somaliland as a potential disruptor of its Belt and Road Initiative, whereby it plans to develop sea and land trade routes across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
An obstructive Somaliland, with its highly strategic Berbera port, could block the continuity of its Maritime Silk Road along the eastern coast of Africa.
China might also be eyeing the Somaliland-Taiwan friendship a little nervously because it has established its first overseas military base anywhere in the world, in neighbouring Djibouti.
Taiwan sees Somaliland as the first step in its ambitions in the region.