Newly appointed Chinese diplomat on Wednesday presented his credentials to Somali Foreign Minister, Abdirahman Mohamed Beileh, as a first step in reopening China’s embassy in the horn of Africa nation for more than two decades.
The appointment of the Chinese diplomat comes after more than twenty years of hiatus in the China diplomatic presence in the Somali capital Mogadishu following the outbreak of the civil conflict in 1991.
Chinese diplomat Wei Hongtian said despite the closure of Chinese embassy in Mogadishu for almost two decades, China’s support for Somalia has not stopped and Chinese government has been backing peace and reconciliation effort in the country.
China has been one of the main donor countries for Somalia during the 2011-2012 famine that left hundreds of people dead and displaced thousands more.
U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.
The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon’s January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisors in October.
The plans to further expand U.S. military assistance coincide with increasing efforts by the Somali government and African Union peacekeepers to counter a bloody seven-year insurgent campaign by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab to impose strict Islamic law inside Somalia.