China supports Somalia’s “territorial integrity’’

On Thursday January 11, China called for Somalia’s “territorial integrity” to be respected, following a resurgence of tension triggered by a maritime agreement signed between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Under this “memorandum of understanding” signed on January 1, the Somaliland region – a former British protectorate which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but is not recognized by the international community – intends to grant Ethiopia access to 20 kilometers of its coastline for a period of 50 years, via a “leasing” agreement.
Addis Ababa has indicated that this will enable it to benefit from “a permanent naval base (…) and commercial maritime services on the Gulf of Aden”.
The Somali government, which has little authority over Somaliland, has vowed to use all legal means to oppose what it regards as “aggression” and a “flagrant violation of its sovereignty”.
“Somaliland is part of Somalia. China supports the Federal Government of Somalia in safeguarding national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity”, according to a message posted on X from the Chinese Embassy in Somalia, quoting Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
China also hoped that tensions would be managed by countries in the region through “diplomatic dialogue”. The Igad bloc of East African countries announced on Thursday that it would be holding an extraordinary meeting on January 18 in Uganda to discuss tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as the situation in Sudan, which has been torn apart since April by a war between rival generals.
The United States, the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League, Egypt and Turkey had already called for Somalia’s sovereignty to be respected.