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Taiwan does not need Beijing’s opinions on its partnerships with other countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid protests from China and Somalia over Taiwan’s decision to exchange representative offices with Somaliland.

China firmly objects to Taiwan and Somaliland establishing official agencies, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said on Monday, adding that the Democratic Progressive Party administration is acting like “a drowning person clutching at straws.”

Zhao praised Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s statement on Saturday denouncing “Taiwan’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia,” and reaffirming Mogadishu’s respect for the “one China” policy.

Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China, which has never ruled Taiwan for a single day, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei yesterday, when asked about the remarks.

As a responsible stakeholder in the global community, Taiwan and its people have been making contributions to the world through varying means, and it is glad to develop partnerships with any other country that pursues democracy and peace, and it does not need the opinions of the Chinese government, she said.

Somaliland is important due to its location near the Gulf of Aden, and its rich fisheries, energy and mining resources, Ou said.

Taiwan and Somaliland are like-minded countries that advocate democracy and freedom, and the government would continue to promote bilateral collaboration based on the spirit of pragmatic diplomacy, she said.

Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Qin Jian (覃儉) visited Somaliland twice this year to try to convince its government not to move ahead with ties to Taiwan, the Somaliland Chronicle reported on Sunday.

 Taipei Times.