China vows enhanced ties with Somalia as embassy reopens
BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the Chinese embassy reopens in Somalia, China will take the opportunity to enhance friendly relations and pragmatic cooperation with the country, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.
China officially reopened its embassy in Somalia Sunday and accredited a new ambassador to the country in the horn of Africa, which is recovering from years of conflict.
"The reopening of the Chinese embassy in Somalia is a significant move by China in supporting Somalia's peace process and post-war reconstruction," spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press conference.
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.
"We believe that a new chapter will be written in the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Somalia," he said.
China attaches great importance to ties with Somalia, he said, adding that China will work with Somalia to break new ground in bilateral relations and benefit the people of both countries.
China closed its embassy and relocated its staff after the breakout of civil war in Somalia back in 1991, when the country descended into chaos and lawlessness that lasted the next 23 years.
The Chinese government has been providing humanitarian support for Somalia since the collapse of the central government back in 1991.
Somalia established diplomatic ties with China soon after it gained independence from Italy in 1960, and it was among the African countries that lobbied for a UN seat for China.
China is one of the latest countries to reopen its embassy in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where several countries, mostly African and Arab nations, have diplomatic representation. Turkey, Britain, and Norway are among the European nations that have sent ambassadors to Mogadishu.