MOGADISHU — China on Sunday officially reopened its embassy in Somalia and accredited a new ambassador to the horn of Africa country recovering from years of conflict.
China, like other nations, closed its embassy and relocated its staff after the breakout of civil war in Somalia back in 1991 when the country descended into a chaos and lawlessness that lasted during the next 23 years.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming announced the official reopening of the embassy in a ceremony in the capital Mogadishu.
The president hailed Somali-Chinese relations as historic and strong, saying that China has played a positive role in Somalia during its time of need.
The Chinese vice foreign minister said reopening of the new embassy will further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.
Somalia and China established diplomatic relations soon after the horn of Africa nation gained independence from Italy in 1960, and Somalia was among African countries that lobbied for a UN seat for China.
The new ambassador, Wei Hongtian, who speaks fluent Somali, said he was honored to be appointed to represent his country in Somalia where he studied Somali at the national university during the 1980s.
China is one of the latest countries to reopen embassy in Somali capital Mogadishu, where several, mostly African and Arab nations, have diplomatic representations. Turkey, Britain, and Norway are among a number of European nations that have sent ambassadors to Mogadishu.