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Somalia followed a foreign policy of nonalignment for a brief period following independence. In 1970, the Siad Barre regime declared a national ideology based on scientific Socialism and aligned its foreign policy with the Soviet Union and China. In the 1980s, Somalia shifted its alignment to the West following a territorial conflict with Ethiopia over the disputed Somali-populated region of the Ogaden from 1977-78, which was supported by the Soviet Union. The central government also sought ties with many Arab countries, and continued to receive financial and military support from several Arab countries prior to its collapse in 1991.

In 1963, Somalia severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom for a period following a dispute over Kenya's Somali-populated northeastern region (Northern Frontier District), an area inhabited mainly by Somalis. Related problems have arisen from the boundary with Ethiopia and the large-scale migrations of Somali nomads between Ethiopia and Somalia. In the aftermath of the 1977-78 war between Somalia and Ethiopia, the Government of Somalia continued to call for self-determination for ethnic Somalis living in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia. At the March 1983 Nonaligned Movement summit in New Delhi, President Siad Barre stated that Somalia harbored no expansionist aims and was willing to negotiate with Ethiopia over the disputed Ogaden region.

Following the collapse of the Barre regime, the foreign policy of the various entities in Somalia, including the TFG, has centered on gaining international recognition, winning international support for national reconciliation, and obtaining international economic assistance.

U.S.-SOMALI RELATIONS: Although the U.S. never for Smally severed diplomatic relations with Somalia, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia has been closed since the collapse of the Siad Barre government in 1991. The United States maintains regular dialogue with the TFG and other key stakeholders in Somalia through the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Consular coverage for Somalia also is maintained by U.S. Embassy Nairobi, while American Citizens Services in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland are provided by the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti.

SOMALIA-CHINA RELATIONS: China and Somaliaestablished diplomatic relations on December 14, 1960. From 1960 to 1990, bilateral ties between the two countries had witnessed a smooth and steady advancement. In 1970 and 1971, Somalia, together with some other countries, submitted the motion to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on restoring the legitimate seat of Chinain the UN, and made active contributions to the restoration of the legitimate seat of the People's Republic of Chinain the world body.