Somalia & China: From Dec.14,1960 ….
Laaska News January 07,2011.
1. Political relations.
China and Somalia established diplomatic relations on December 14, 1960. From 1960 to 1990, bilateral ties between the two countries had witnessed a smooth and steady advancement. In 1970 and 1971, Somalia, together with some other countries, submitted the motion to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on restoring the legitimate seat of China in the UN, and made active contributions to the restoration of the legitimate seat of the People’s Republic of China in the world body.
During the period from 1960 to1990, many Somalia leading officials visited China. They were Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Shermarke (August 1963), President Aden Abdullah Osman (July 1965), President Mohamed Siad Barre (May 1972, April 1978), the third Vice President Ismail Ali Abucar, (June 1977), First Vice President and Defense Minister Mohamed Ali Samater (May 1979), Foreign Minister Abdurahman Jama Barre (April 1979, December 1984), Second Vice President Hussein Kulmie Afrah (April 1982).
There were also many Chinese leaders who visited Somalia. They were Premier Zhou Enlai, (February 1964, accompanied by Vice Premier Chen Yi), Vice Premier Chen Muhua (July, 1978), Vice Premier Geng Biao, (November 1978), Vice Foreign Minister He Ying (October 1979), and Yang Jingren, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (October 1984), President Li Xiannian (March, 1986), etc.
In 1991 when the Siad government was overthrown, Somalia was bogged down into a separatist situation with the coexistence of several warlord regimes. Although the Chinese Embassy, medical team and relevant experts left Somalia in January 1991, the two countries have still maintained diplomatic relations. Ever since the outbreak of the Somalia civil war, the Chinese Government has been closely concerned about the situation in Somalia, and has backed all efforts made by the international community and other regional organizations to settle the Somalia issue in a peaceful manner. China has consistently taken an active part in the discussions of the Somalia issue within the UN and provided Somalia for many times humanitarian assistance, such as medicines, disaster relief materials, etc. Since January 2003, China has begun to act as the UN Security Council coordinator on the Somalia issue.
2. Economic and trade relations and economic and technical cooperation
Since 1963, China has provided Somalia with various kinds of economic assistance. The main projects China has accomplished in Somalia are:
National Theatre, the Hargeisa water supply project, Somalia Cigarette Manufactory, Somalia Banadir Hospital, Somalia Stadium, road between Beled Weyne and Burao, Barrouen Farm, Fanole Farm and a hydro-power station, etc.
China started to contract projects and labor cooperation in Somalia since 1982. From the year 1963 to 1980, trade between the two countries was conducted by means of keeping accounts and later changed to cash transaction. China’s exports to Somalia are main light industrial products, textile, medicine, hardware and small-sized machinery, and main imports from Somali are myrrh, frankincense and leather, etc.
In 2002, the total trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$3.39 million, of which China’s export was US$1.83 million and import US$1.56 million.
The economic and trade agreements signed by the governments of China and Somalia were: the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Somalia on Economic and Technological Cooperation (1963 and 1978); the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Somalia on Trade and Payment (1963); the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Somalia Democratic Republic on Trade and Payment (1980).
3. Exchange and cooperation in fields of culture, education, health and the military
China and Somalia had kept frequent and active cultural exchanges before 1991. China once dispatched sports coaches to Somalia. The two countries signed the agreements on cultural cooperation in 1963 and 1983 respectively. The cooperation in the field of health between the two countries started from 1965, and China sent its first 10-member medical team to Somalia in the same year. Up to the very beginning of the Somalia civil war in 1991, there were altogether 19 Chinese medical workers in Somalia.
Before the outbreak of the Somalia civil war, the two countries had maintained friendly military relations. There were exchanges of visits to each other by military leaders from both countries, among which were Lieutenant General Mohamed Ali of Defense Minister of Somalia in May 1979, Major General Aden Abdullahi Nur in 1988, and Liu Kai, Assistant Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in April 1980.
4. Important agreement and document
The Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republicof Somalia.( Dec. 14 1960).
(Chinese Foreign Ministry October 10, 2006)