Monday, June 30, 2014

Somalia: China Sends Reactivation of Diplomacy Delegation, UK First EU Nation to Open Embassy

According to The Associated Press, China said Monday (June 30) it will re-open its embassy in Somalia 23 years after evacuating its diplomats after the East African nation plunged into civil war.

The decision came after Somalia established its first government and parliament in 21 years, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. He said Beijing would send a delegation to Somalia on Tuesday (July 1).

Chinese diplomats left Somalia in January 1991 after a longtime dictator was overthrown and warlords turned on each other, plunging the impoverished country into chaos.

COMMENT: The United States announced earlier in June that it would appoint an ambassador to Somalia, but said it had no immediate plans to re-open its embassy in the capital of Mogadishu, which has been beset by violence and deadly bombings spurred by the terror group, al-Shabaab.

Few non-African countries maintain embassies in Somalia. The UK last year opened its mission there for the first time since 1991, becoming the first country within the European Union (EU) to do so.

China has a large presence on the African continent, with Chinese companies building roads, airports and other infrastructure. Beijing has opened more embassies and commercial offices in recent years. Last year, China-Africa trade reached $210 billion, according to official figures.