China has re-opened its embassy in Mogadishu, after 23 years, becoming the first Asian country to open a new embassy in the war-ravaged nation.
In a highly organised ceremony held at the new embassy building, Somalia President Hassan Sheikh said that his government is delighted to re-establish relations with one of the world’s ‘’big powers’’.
Deputy Foreign Minister of China Chang Ming-Seung was among high profile dignitaries that attended the ceremony.
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.
Few non-African countries maintain embassies in Somalia. Britain last year opened its mission there for the first time since 1991, becoming the first country within the European Union 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.