BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- China will reopen its embassy in Somalia after a 23-year period of closure that begun when the country descended into civil war, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
A Chinese task force will travel to the African country on Tuesday to begin reestablishing the embassy.
Somalia was the first East African country to establish diplomatic ties with China, making the move in 1960. China closed its embassy there after Somalia got into civil war in 1991.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing that China has made unremitting efforts to help restore peace and stability in Somalia together with the international community ever since then.
Hong said Somalia has entered a new period of national reconstruction as the peace process achieved a breakthrough in 2012 and the first formal government and parliament have been formed in 21 years.
"China's decision to reopen the embassy and send the task force shows China's high attention to relations with Somalia and firm support for the reconstruction of the country," he added.
China will take the opportunity of the reestablishment of the embassy to enhance cooperation with Somalia so as to open a new era of China-Somalia relations and contribute more to the lasting peace and national reconstruction of the country, according to the spokesman.
Somalia's central government collapsed in 1991 when a civil war broke out, in which militant group al-Shabaab once held all of south-central Somalia, including the capital city of Mogadishu.
The Somali military and African Union troops wrested back the capital in August 2011 and later other major cities. In August 2012, the federal parliament was inaugurated, ushering in a federal government, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the war.