Taiwan Government - History

Taiwan Government - History


Taiwan is an emerging democracy. It just completed its first transition from the control of the former ruling party. Taiwan has an unicameral legislature and independent judiciary.
PresidentChen, Shui-bian
Vice PresidentLu, Annette
Pres., Executive Yuan (Premier)Yu, Shyi-Kun
Vice Pres., Executive Yuan (Vice Premier)Lin, Hsin-yi
Sec. Gen., Executive YuanChiou, I-jen
Pres., Control YuanChien, Fredrick
Pres., Examination YuanHsu, Shui-teh
Pres., Judicial YuanWeng, Yueh-sheng
Pres., Legislative YuanWang, Jin-ping
Min. of Economic AffairsLin, Yi-fu
Min. of EducationHuang, Jung-tsun
Min. of FinanceLee, Yung-san
Min. of Foreign AffairsChien, Eugene
Min. of InteriorYu, Cheng-hsien
Min. of JusticeChen, Ding-nan
Min. of National DefenseTang, Yao-ming
Min. of Transportation & CommunicationsLin, Lin-san
Min. Without PortfolioChang, Yu-hui
Min. Without PortfolioChen, Ching-huang
Min. Without PortfolioHu, Chien-biao
Min. Without PortfolioHuang, Jung-tsun
Min. Without PortfolioLin, Neng-pai
Min. Without PortfolioTsay, Ching-yen
Chmn., Aborgines CommissionYouharni, Yisicacafute
Chmn., Agricultural CouncilFan, Chen-chung
Chmn., Atomic Energy CouncilHsia, Teh-yu
Chmn., Central Election CommissionHuang, Hsih-cheng
Chmn., Consumer ProtectionLai, In-jaw
Chmn., Cultural AffairsChen, Yu-hsiu
Chmn., Economic Planning & Development CouncilChen, Po-chih
Chmn., Fair Trade CommissionChao, Yang-ching
Chmn., Labor Affairs CouncilChen, Chu
Chmn., Mainland Affairs CouncilTsai, Ying-wen
Chmn., Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs CommissionHsu, Cheng-kuang
Chmn., National Palace MuseumTu, Cheng-sheng
Chmn., National Science CouncilWeng, Cheng-yi
Chmn., National Youth CommissionLin, Feng-mei
Chmn., Overseas Chinese Affairs CommissionChang, Fu-mei
Chmn., Physical Education & Sports CommissionHsu, Hsin-yi
Chmn., Public Construction CommissionLin, Neng-pai
Chmn., Research Development & Evaluation CommissionLin, Chia-cheng
Chmn., Veterans Affairs CommissionYang, Te-chih
Chmn., Vocational Assistance for Retired Veterans AffairsTang, Teh-chih
Dir., Environmental Protection AgencyHau, Lung-pin
Dir. Gen., Budget, Accounting & StatisticsLin, Chuan
Dir. Gen., Central Personnel AdministrationChu, Wu-hsien
Dir. Gen., Department of HealthLee, Ming-liang
Dir. Gen., Government Information OfficeYeh, Kuo-hsin
Dir. Gen., National Police AdministrationWang, Chin-wang
Sec. Gen., National Security CouncilChiou, I-ren
Representative to the USChen, Chien-jen
Governor, Central Bank of ChinaPerng, Fai-nan

Going back to the beginning - the first known settlers in Taiwan were Austronesian tribal people, who are thought to have come from modern day southern China.

The island seems to have first appeared in Chinese records in AD239, when an emperor sent an expeditionary force to explore the area - something Beijing uses to back its territorial claim.

After a relatively brief spell as a Dutch colony (1624-1661), Taiwan was administered by China's Qing dynasty from 1683 to 1895.

From the 17th Century, significant numbers of migrants started arriving from China, often fleeing turmoil or hardship. Most were Hoklo Chinese from Fujian (Fukien) province or Hakka Chinese, largely from Guangdong. The descendants of these two migrations are now by far the largest demographic groups on the island.

In 1895, Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War, and the Qing government had to cede Taiwan to Japan. After World War Two, Japan surrendered and relinquished control of territory it had taken from China. The Republic of China - one of the victors in the war - began ruling Taiwan with the consent of its allies, the US and UK.

But in the next few years a civil war broke out in China, and the then-leader Chiang Kai-shek's troops were beaten back by Mao Zedong's Communist armies.

Chiang and the remnants of his Kuomintang (KMT) government fled to Taiwan in 1949. This group, referred to as Mainland Chinese and then making up 1.5m people, dominated Taiwan's politics for many years - even though they only account for 14% of the population.

Having inherited an effective dictatorship, facing resistance from local people resentful of authoritarian rule and under pressure from a growing democracy movement, Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, began allowing a process of democratisation.

President Lee Teng-hui, known as Taiwan's "father of democracy", led constitutional changes towards a more democratic political layout, which eventually led to the election of the island's first non-KMT president, Chen Shui-bian, in 2000.

Reinscribing Taiwanese Americans into Transpacific History

When Pew Research Centre, a leading non-partisan think tank based in the United States, released its latest “Key Facts” about Asian Americans in May 2021, one substantial demographic – Taiwanese Americans – was nearly missing. In a footnote, the authors of the Pew report explained that they opted to count people who specified “Taiwanese” as their ethnicity or national origin on the 2020 US Census as “Chinese” instead. Taiwanese Americans civic organizations responded quickly. After all, they had mobilized in 2010 and 2020 to encourage community members to take the extra step to identify themselves as “Taiwanese” on the US Census (which requires checking the box labelled “Other Asian” and typing or handwriting in a specific answer). As the directors of the Write-In Taiwanese Census Campaign noted in a joint letter, Pew produces its reports in part because “large data gaps exist about Asians and their experiences in America…As Taiwanese-Americans, we respond: Why was the data we reported manipulated? Why were our stories hidden?”

Pew’s response via its official Twitter account a few days later betrayed a set of shared assumptions about Taiwanese-Americans: first, that they are really Chinese (ambiguously defined in ethnic as well as national terms) even when they explicitly reject the label and second, that their identity is so complex as to resist the tools of analysis applied to other ethnic groups. Nevertheless, describing all Taiwanese Americans as Chinese Americans means overlooking one of the significant developments in modern Asian and Asian-American history. This is the development of a distinctly Taiwanese-American identity and its geopolitical consequences, ranging from overseas pressure in the 1980s, from emigre communities and the US government for Taiwan to democratize, to continued grassroots advocacy for robust unofficial US-Taiwan relations

Taiwanese Americans written out of the History of Taiwan

It is not only US institutions like Pew that categorize Taiwanese Americans as “Chinese,” however. Taiwan’s own government did the same for decades. Under KMT rule and ideology, emigrants from the “free area” of the Republic of China – Taiwan, Matsu, Kinmen, Penghu, and other offshore islands – were conceived as “overseas Chinese.” The few available studies on the subject show that the first wave of emigration from Taiwan to the United States beginning in the 1950s was primarily composed of “double migrants” (who fled the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and lived in Taiwan only a short while). A second wave began in the 1970s and 1980s, consisting in large part of graduate students who had grown up under the shadow of martial law and one-party rule by the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party or KMT), included proportionately more people who traced their ancestry in Taiwan to well before 1949. As Wendy Cheng has written, among these students, were many who “identified, or would soon come to identify, as Taiwanese.” This identity was cemented via “tightly connected institutional networks of sociality” and pro-democracy and pro-independence activism that aimed to bring an end to the dictatorships of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo and establish a Taiwanese nation in place of the Republic of China.

Arguably, the actions of these overseas students helped motivate the United States government – which had supported both Chiangs as a bulwark against communism in East Asia but recognized Beijing in 1979 – to pressure the KMT to democratize. Of course, since then, the types of people identifying as Taiwanese-American have expanded beyond this original cohort, including those whose parents saw themselves as Chinese and more multiethnic and multiracial members. Yet, the legacy of that initial period of Taiwanese American activism remains geopolitically significant. Indeed, three decades of democratization and continuing lobbying and campaigning by the diaspora have helped build robust bipartisan support in the US for Taiwan in the face of the PRC’s determination to take it over.

Until 2006, six years after the election of Chen Shui-bian, the first non-KMT president, the English title of the OCAC (僑務委員會) – the council of the Executive Yuan tasked with maintaining cultural and educational exchanges with the diaspora – was the “Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission.” During martial law, the OCAC and its affiliates also informed pro-democracy activists abroad, acting as extraterritorial enforcers of the KMT’s will. Perhaps the best-known initiative of the OCAC is the Overseas Chinese Youth Language Training and Study Tour. Established in 1966 and also known as Love Boat, it was explicitly geared towards building loyalty to the ROC instead of the PRC or an independent Taiwanese nation. The KMT sold itself to second-generation American and Canadian participants “as the true and real bastion of Chinese tradition and culture,” in the words of Joan S.H. Wang. Thus, until the early 2000s – and even beyond – Taiwanese emigrants and their children, who wanted to identify as Taiwanese, did so in opposition to the government that ruled Taiwan. Instead, they engaged in what Bing Wang and Min Zhou call “proactive disidentification from Chinese-Americans” – both from the PRC diaspora and also their fellow emigrants from Taiwan who supported the KMT or saw themselves as Chinese by culture and political orientation. Successive US Census reports show an increase in the number of responses that claim Taiwanese ethnicity. In 2000, the Census received118,048 Taiwanese-only responses and 144,795 responses combining Taiwanese and at least one other racial or ethnic group in 2010 (the last year for which detailed Census data is publicly available), these numbers rose to 196,691 and 215,441, respectively.

Continued Challenges Faced by the Second and Third Generations

However, even as the term “overseas Chinese” has gradually fallen out of use for emigrants from Taiwan, second- and third-generation American diaspora face numerous logistical and linguistic difficulties when trying to connect with or relocate to Taiwan. Today, Love Boat takes the form of three programs, marketed as Taiwanese, not Chinese, in focus: the “Taiwan Study Tour,” “Taiwan Culture Program,” and “Taiwan Experience Program.” In addition, the AID (Assisting Individuals with Disabilities) program recruits several hundred volunteers “of Chinese or Taiwanese descent” to teach English in Taiwan for a summer. Yet major opportunities for sustained language training, such as the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, which offers up to one year of tuition and living expenses, are not open to diaspora who hold a ROC passport.

More importantly, the OCAC and various Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices provide extremely limited information in English about how the children and grandchildren of Taiwanese migrants can obtain ROC residency, household registration, National ID, work permits, or enrol as study abroad or degree-seeking students at Taiwanese universities. The OCAC’s Facebook page contains no English-language posts at all, while TECO offices often advertise events only in Mandarin, leaving out the demographics most in need of assistance understanding Taiwan. Those of Taiwanese descent born and raised in the US (who possess meagre literacy rates in Chinese characters) have resorted to mutual aid and crowdsourced documents. These are compiled in online social networks like Subtle Taiwanese Traits. Here, they discuss the benefits and drawbacks of claiming dual nationality, for example. However, such an impetus can make functioning in Taiwan much easier but also make employment in specific sectors in the US, like security or policy, more difficult. Moreover, although several storiesappeared in the international press about record numbers of young Taiwanese-Americans applying for ROC passports, Gold Cards, or other entry permits to move to Taiwan in during the coronavirus epidemic in 2020, there was virtually no messaging by the government or civil society in Taiwan welcoming young diaspora as a group and directing them towards pathways for residency.

For a country that greatly restricts the ability of foreigners to acquire dual nationality, and that also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, the second-and third-generation diaspora in the United States represent under-tapped human capital. Yet, for both US institutions like Pew, and Taiwanese government and civil society, it seems, fuller recognition of the demographics, diversity, social networks, identity formation, and political and professional commitments of Taiwanese Americans – and the impact of their “civic transnationalism” – remains elusive.

Catherine Chou is a second-generation Taiwanese American and an assistant professor of history at Grinnell College in Iowa

This article was published as part of a series on Taiwanese Americans. You can read all articles here.


Taiwan under Qing & Japanese rule (Pre–1945) Edit

Two American diplomats in the 1850s suggested to Washington that the U.S. should obtain the island of Taiwan from China, but the idea was rejected. [11] [12] Aboriginals on Taiwan often attacked and massacred shipwrecked western sailors, and American diplomats tried to help them. [13] In 1867, during the Rover incident, Taiwanese aborigines attacked shipwrecked American sailors, killing the entire crew. They subsequently skirmished against and defeated a retaliatory expedition by the American military and killed another American during the battle. [14]

In the Japanese era, the United States also hosted a consulate in Taihoku, Formosa (today Taipei) from 1913. The consulate was closed in 1941 due to United States declaration of war on Japan. The site is now protected as the Former American Consulate in Taipei.

ROC on Taiwan Edit

Beiyang and Nationalist era Edit

In 1784, the United States attempted to send a consul to China, but this was rejected by the Chinese government, with official relations beginning on June 16, 1844 under President John Tyler, [1] leading to the 1845 Treaty of Wangxia.

As Taiwan was under Japanese control, following the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the William Taft administration recognized the government of the Republic of China (ROC) as the sole and legitimate government of China despite a number of governments ruling various parts of China. China was reunified by a single government, led by the Kuomintang (KMT) in 1928, which subsequently gained recognition as China's only legitimate government despite continued internal strife. The first winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for writing about China was an American, born in the United States but raised in China, Pearl S. Buck, whose 1938 Nobel lecture was titled The Chinese Novel. [15]

During the Pacific War, the United States and the Republic of China were allied against Japan. In October 1945, a month after Japan's surrender, representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, on behalf of the Allies, were sent to Formosa to accept the surrender of Japanese troops. However, during the period of the 1940s, there was no recognition by the United States Government that Taiwan had ever been incorporated into Chinese national territory. [16] Chiang continued to remain suspicious of America's motives. [17]

Retreat to Taiwan Edit

As the Korean War broke out, the Truman Administration resumed economic and military aid to the ROC on Taiwan and neutralized the Taiwan Strait by United States Seventh Fleet to stop a Communist invasion of Formosa [18] (as well as a potential ROC counter-invasion of the mainland). [19] US military presence in Taiwan consisted of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) and the United States Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC). Other notable units included the 327th Air Division. Until the US formally recognized the People's Republic of China in 1979, Washington provided ROC with financial grants based on the Foreign Assistance Act, [20] Mutual Security Act and Act for International Development enacted by the US Congress. A separate Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty was signed between the two governments of US and ROC in 1954 and lasted until 1979.

The U.S. State Department's official position in 1959 was:

That the provisional capital of the Republic of China has been at Taipei, Taiwan (Formosa) since December 1949 that the Government of the Republic of China exercises authority over the island that the sovereignty of Formosa has not been transferred to China and that Formosa is not a part of China as a country, at least not as yet, and not until and unless appropriate treaties are hereafter entered into. Formosa may be said to be a territory or an area occupied and administered by the Government of the Republic of China, but is not officially recognized as being a part of the Republic of China.

Since 1979 Edit

At the height of the Sino-Soviet Split, and at the start of the reform and opening of People's Republic of China, the United States strategically switched diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China (ROC) to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on January 1, 1979 to counter the political influences and military threats from the Soviet Union. The US Embassy in Taipei was 'migrated' to Beijing and the Taiwanese Embassy in the US was closed. Following the termination of diplomatic relations, the United States terminated its Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan on January 1, 1980.

On April 10, 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which created domestic legal authority for the conduct of unofficial relations with Taiwan. U.S. commercial, cultural, and other interaction with the people on Taiwan is facilitated through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation. The institute has its headquarters in the Washington, DC area and has offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung. It is authorized to issue visas, accept passport applications, and provide assistance to U.S. citizens in Taiwan. A counterpart organization, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), has been established by Taiwan. It has its headquarters in Taipei, the representative branch office in Washington, DC, and 11 other Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECO) in the continental U.S. and Guam. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) continues to provide the legal basis for the unofficial relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, and enshrines the U.S. commitment to assisting Taiwan maintain its defensive capability.

In July 2002, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) became the first Taiwanese government official to be invited into the White House after the US had de-recognized Taiwan.

After de-recognition, the U.S. still maintains unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan through Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office the current head of TECRO in Washington, D.C. is Stanley Kao. The American Institute in Taiwan, a non-profit institute headquarters in the US soil under the laws of the District of Columbia in Arlington County, Virginia and serves as the semi-official, working-level US representation and AIT has branch offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung. The Chairman of AIT is Raymond Burghardt. Christopher J. Marut was appointed to be the new AIT Taipei Office Director in August 2012. [22] [23] With the absence of diplomatic recognition, in the present state, Taiwan-US relations are formally guided by the service of enactment of Taiwan Relations Act by US Congress for the continuation of Taiwan-US relations after 1979. In 2013, Taiwan Policy Act of 2013 was raised and passed in House Committee on Foreign Affairs by the US Congress to update the condition of US-Taiwan relations. [24] [25] In 2015 Kin Moy was appointed to the Director of the AIT.

U.S. commercial ties with Taiwan have been maintained and have expanded since 1979. Taiwan continues to enjoy Export-Import Bank financing, Overseas Private Investment Corporation guarantees, normal trade relations (NTR) status, and ready access to U.S. markets. In recent years, AIT commercial dealings with Taiwan have focused on expanding market access for American goods and services. AIT has been engaged in a series of trade discussions, which have focused on copyright concerns and market access for U.S. goods and services.

On December 16, 2015, the Obama administration announced a deal to sell $1.83 billion worth of arms to the Armed Forces of Taiwan, a year and eight months after U.S. House passed the Taiwan Relations Act Affirmation and Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2014 to allow the sale of Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. The deal would include the sale of two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, Assault Amphibious Vehicles, and FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, amid the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. [26] [27] China's foreign ministry had expressed its disapproval for the sales and issued the U.S. a "stern warning", saying it would hurt China–U.S. relations. [28]

A new $250 million compound for the American Institute in Taiwan was unveiled in June 2018, accompanied by a "low-key" American delegation. [29] The Chinese authorities estimated this action as violation of "one China" policy statement and claimed the US to stop any relations with Taiwan without approbation of China. [1]

In September 2018, the United States approved the sale of $330 million worth of spare parts and other equipment to sustain the Republic of China Air Force. [30] [31]

In July 2019, the US State Department approved the sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment at an approximate value of $2.2 billion to Taiwan. [32]

In May 2020, the US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of 18 MK-48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology Heavy Weight Torpedoes for Taiwan in a deal estimated to cost $180 million. [33]

On 9 August 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan to meet President Tsai Ing-wen, the first visit by an American official since the break in diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. [34] In September 2020, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith J. Krach attended the memorial service for former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui. [35]

In an October 2020 deal of $2.37 billion between the U.S and Taiwan, the U.S. State Department approved the potential sale to Taiwan of 400 anti-ship cruise missiles including associated radars, road-mobile launchers, and technical support. [36]

On March 3, 2021, the Biden Administration reasserted the strength of the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan in the administration's Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. [37] On March 8 2021, the Biden Administration made the following statement during a press briefing: "We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region. We maintain our longstanding commitments, as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. And we will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability." [38]

In 1949, when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's troops decamped to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war, Washington continued to recognize Chiang's "Republic of China" as the government of all China. In late 1978, Washington announced that it would break relations with the government in Taipei and formally recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the "sole legal government of China." [39]

Washington's "one China" policy, however, does not mean that the United States recognizes, nor agrees with Beijing's claims to sovereignty over Taiwan. [39] [40] On July 14, 1982 the Republican Reagan Administration gave specific assurances to Taiwan that the United States did not accept China's claim to sovereignty over the island (Six Assurances), [39] [41] and the U.S. Department of State informed the Senate that "[t]he United States takes no position on the question of Taiwan's sovereignty."

The U.S. Department of State, in its U.S. Relations With Taiwan fact sheet, states "[T]he United States and Taiwan enjoy a robust unofficial relationship. The 1979 U.S.–P.R.C. Joint Communiqué switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. In the Joint Communiqué, the United States recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. [42]

The United States position on Taiwan is reflected in "the six assurances to Taiwan", the Three Communiqués, and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). [43] The Six Assurances include: 1. The United States has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan 2. The United States has not agreed to hold prior consultations with the Chinese on arms sales to Taiwan 3. The United States would not play any mediation role between Taiwan and Beijing 4. The United States has not agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act 5. The United States has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan and 6. The United States would not exert pressure on Taiwan to enter into negotiations with the Chinese. [44] The "Three Communiqués" include The Shanghai Communiqué, The Normalisation Communiqué, and The August 17 Communiqué, which pledged to abrogate official US-ROC relations, remove US troops from Taiwan and gradually end the arms sale to Taiwan, but with the latter of no timeline to do so, an effort made by James Lilley, the Director of American Institute in Taiwan.

Despite friendly relations with China, United States President George W. Bush was asked on 25 April 2001, "if Taiwan were attacked by China, do we (The U.S.) have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese?" He responded, "Yes, we do. and the Chinese must understand that. The United States would do whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself." [45] He made it understood that "though we (China and the U.S.) have common interests, the Chinese must understand that there will be some areas where we disagree." [45]

On 19 June 2013, ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude for a US Congress's bill in support of Taiwan's bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). [46] On July 12, 2013, US President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1151, codifying the US government's full support for Taiwan's participation in the ICAO as a non-sovereign entity. [47] The United States has continued the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, which provides for such sales and which declares that peace and stability in the area are in U.S. interests. Sales of defensive military equipment are also consistent with the 1982 U.S.-P.R.C. Joint Communiqué.

Maintaining diplomatic relations with the PRC has been recognized to be in the long-term interest of the United States by seven consecutive administrations however, maintaining strong, unofficial relations with Taiwan is also a major U.S. goal, in line with its desire to further peace and stability in Asia. In keeping with its China policy, the U.S. does not support de jure Taiwan independence, but it does support Taiwan's membership in appropriate international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the Asian Development Bank, where statehood is not a requirement for membership. In addition, the U.S. supports appropriate opportunities for Taiwan's voice to be heard in organizations where its membership is not possible.

On 24 August 2010, the United States State Department announced a change to commercial sales of military equipment in place of the previous foreign military sales in the hope of avoiding political implications. [48] However pressure from the PRC has continued and it seems unlikely that Taiwan will be provided with advanced submarines or jet fighters. [49]

Taiwan has indicated that it is willing to host national missile defense radars to be tied into the American system, but is unwilling to pay for any further cost overruns in the systems. [50]

On December 2, 2016, U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump accepted a congratulatory call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, which was the first time since 1979 that a President-Elect has publicly spoken to a leader of Taiwan. [51] Donald Trump stated the call was regarding "the close economic, political and security ties between Taiwan and the US". [52] The phone call had been arranged by Bob Dole, who acted as a foreign agent on behalf of Taiwan. [53]

PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi soon made a statement saying that China opposes any move to separate the country, without explicitly mentioning the phone call between Tsai and Trump. [ citation needed ]

On 16 March 2018, President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, [54] allowing high-level diplomatic engagement between Taiwanese and American officials, and encourages visits between government officials of the United States and Taiwan at all levels. [55] [56] The legislation has sparked outrage from the PRC, [57] and has been applauded by Taiwan. [58] [55]

On 17 July 2018, Taiwan's Army was officially commissioned all of its Apache attack helicopters purchased from the United States, at cost of $59.31 billion NT(US$1.94 billion), having completed the necessary pilot training and verification of the fleet's combat capability. One of the helicopters was destroyed in a crash during a training flight in Taoyuan in April 2014 and the other 29 have been allocated to the command's 601st Brigade, which is based in Longtan, Taoyuan. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the commissioning of the Apaches was "an important milestone" in meeting the island's "multiple deterrence" strategy to counter an invasion and to resist Beijing's pressure with support from Washington, which has been concerned about Beijing's growing military expansion in the South China Sea and beyond. [59]

On 26 March 2020, President Trump signed the TAIPEI Act, aiming to increase the scope of US relations with Taiwan and encouraging other nations and international organizations to strengthen their official and unofficial ties with the island nation. [60]

The United States operates a de facto embassy in Taipei called the American Institute in Taiwan. It operates a consulate in Kaohsiung called the American Institute in Taiwan Kaohsiung Branch Office.


International law recognizes that governments in exile may undertake many types of actions in the conduct of their daily affairs. These actions include:

  • becoming a party to a bilateral or international treaty
  • amending or revising its own constitution
  • maintaining military forces
  • retaining, or newly obtaining, diplomatic recognition from other states
  • issuing identity cards
  • allowing the formation of new political parties
  • holding elections

In cases where a host country holds a large expatriate population from a government in exile's home country, or an ethnic population from that country, the government in exile might come to exercise some administrative functions within such a population. For example, the WWII Provisional Government of Free India had such authority among the ethnically Indian population of British Malaya, with the consent of the then Japanese military authorities.

Governments in exile may have little or no recognition from other states. Some exiled governments have some characteristics in common with rump states. Such disputed or partially in exile cases are noted in the tables below.

Deposed governments of current states Edit

These governments in exile were created by deposed governments or rulers who continue to claim legitimate authority of the state they once controlled.

The oldest current government (formally, a provisional parliament) in exile, currently led by Ivonka Survilla in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The former government of the Kingdom of Laos based in Gresham, Oregon, United States

Based in Quetta, Pakistan as a continuation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. After the Taliban were removed from power in the 2001 Afghan war, the veteran high-ranking leaders of the former government including Mullah Mohammed Omar, founder and spiritual leader of the Taliban, fled to Quetta, Balochistan Province, Pakistan where they set up Quetta Shura in exile to organize and direct the insurgency and retake Afghanistan.

This government was formed in response to the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état. The cabinet members of the National Unity Government are in hiding within Myanmar.

Deposed governments of former states Edit

These governments in exile were created by deposed governments or rulers who continue to claim legitimate authority of the state they once controlled but whose state no longer exists.

Name Exile Current control of claimed territory Notes References
since as by as
Republic of South Maluku 1963 Independent state Republic of Indonesia Maluku Province Based in the Netherlands and formed by members of the exiled government of the Republic of South Maluku which was an unrecognized independent state between 1950 and 1963. [14]

Current government regarded by some as a "government-in-exile" Edit

Government of the Republic of China: The currently Taipei-based Republic of China government does not regard itself as a government-in-exile, but is claimed to be such by some participants in the debate on the political status of Taiwan. [15] In addition to the island of Taiwan and some other islands it currently controls, the Republic of China formally maintains claims over territory now controlled by the People's Republic of China as well as some parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The usual formal reasoning on which this "government-in-exile" claim is based relies on an argument that the sovereignty of Taiwan was not legitimately handed to the Republic of China at the end of World War II, [16] and on that basis the Republic of China is located in foreign territory, therefore effectively making it a government in exile. [17] By contrast, this theory is not accepted by those who view the sovereignty of Taiwan as having been legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war. [18] Both the People's Republic of China government and the Kuomintang in Republic of China (Taiwan) hold the latter view.

However, there are also some who do not accept that the sovereignty of Taiwan was legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war nor that the Republic of China is a government-in-exile, and China's territory does not include Taiwan. The current Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan is inclined to this view, and supports Taiwanese independence.

Deposed governments of subnational territories Edit

Current Edit

These governments in exile claim legitimacy of autonomous territories of another state and have been created by deposed governments or rulers, who do not claim independence as a separate state.

Name Exile Current control of claimed territory Notes
since as by as
Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia 1993 autonomous republic Republic of Abkhazia de facto independent state Georgian provincial government, led by Ruslan Abashidze, whose territory is under the control of Abkhaz separatists
Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh 1994 Republic of Artsakh Azerbaijan provisional government, led by Tural Ganjaliyev, whose territory is under the control of Armenian separatists
Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia 2008 provisional administrative entity Republic of South Ossetia Georgian provincial administration, led by Dmitry Sanakoyev, whose territory is under the control of South Ossetian separatists
Autonomous Republic of Crimea 2014 autonomous republic Russian Federation federal subject (republic) Ukrainian autonomous republic, whose territory was seized and annexed by Russia in March 2014, following a disputed status referendum Presidential Representative-in-exile now based in Kherson [19]
City of Sevastopol special city federal city Ukrainian special city, whose territory was seized and annexed by Russia in March 2014, following a disputed status referendum

Past Edit

Name Exile Period Actual control of claimed territory Notes References
Generalitat de Catalunya 1939-1977 Spain In 1939, as the Spanish Civil War finished with the defeat of the Republican side, the Francoist dictatorship abolished the Generalitat de Catalunya, autonomous government of Catalonia, and its president Lluís Companys was tortured and executed. However, the Generalitat maintained its official existence in exile from 1939 to 1977, led by presidents Josep Irla (1940-1954) and Josep Tarradellas (1954-1980). In 1977 Tarradellas returned to Catalonia and was recognized by the post-Franco Spanish government, ending the Generalitat's exile.

Alternative governments of current states Edit

These governments have been created in exile by political organisations and opposition parties, aspire to become actual governing authorities or claim to be legal successors to previously deposed governments, and have been created as alternatives to incumbent governments.

Name Claimed exile Exile proclamation Government presently controlling claimed territory Notes References
Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces 1949 North Korea Based in Seoul, the South Korean government's provisional administration for the five pre-1945 provinces which became North Korea at the end of World War II and the division of Korea. The five provinces are North Hamgyeong, South Hamgyeong, Hwanghae, North Pyeongan, South Pyeongan [20]
Delegation of Taiwan Province, National People's Congress/CPPCC of PRC
Taiwan Affairs Office
Republic of China As representative body and executive organ, work together with Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (Political Party), All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots (Civil)
East Turkistan Government-in-Exile 1949 2004 People's Republic of China Campaigns for the restoration of an independent East Turkistan based in Washington, DC, United States [21]
National Council of Iran 2013 Islamic Republic of Iran Political umbrella coalition of forty Iranian opposition political organizations, led by Prince Reza Pahlavi based in Maryland, United States
Democratic Republic of Iran 1981 Run by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition political organizations, the largest organization being the People's Mujahedin of Iran led by Maryam and Massoud Rajavi based in Paris with the aim to establish the “Democratic Republic of Iran” to replace the current religious rule in Iran. [22]
Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea 2003 Republic of Equatorial Guinea Proclaimed Severo Moto President of Equatorial Guinea in Madrid [23]
Third Republic of Vietnam 1990 1991 Socialist Republic of Vietnam Third Republic of Vietnam previously named Provisional National Government of Vietnam was formed in Orange County, California by former soldiers and refugees from the former South Vietnamese. Declared a terrorist organization in Vietnam. [24]
Syrian Interim Government 2012 Syrian Arab Republic Opposes the government of the Syrian Arab Republic based in Istanbul has ties to some Free Syrian Army groups. [25]
Royal Lao Government in Exile 1993 Lao People's Democratic Republic Opposes communist government in Laos seek to institute a constitutional monarchy, based in Gresham, Oregon.
Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power 2020 Republic of Belarus Opposes Alexander Lukashenko's rule led by candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (exiled in Lithuania) after losing the disputed election to Lukashenko, which sparked nationwide protests in order for him to be removed from power.
Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic 1919 The BNR has been led by Ivonka Survilla since 1997 and has recognised Tsikhanouskaya as the legitimate president. It is the oldest government in exile in the world

Alternative separatist governments of current subnational territories Edit

These governments have been created in exile by political organisations, opposition parties, and separatist movements, and desire to become the governing authorities of their territories as independent states, or claim to be the successor to previously deposed governments, and have been created as alternatives to incumbent governments.

Exiled governments of non-self-governing or occupied territories Edit

These governments in exile are governments of non-self-governing or occupied territories. They claim legitimate authority over a territory they once controlled, or claim legitimacy of a post-decolonization authority. The claim may stem from an exiled group's election as a legitimate government.

The United Nations recognizes the right of self-determination for the population of these territories, including the possibility of establishing independent sovereign states.

From the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988 in exile in Algiers by the Palestine Liberation Organization, it has effectively functioned as the government in exile of the Palestinian State. In 1994, however the PLO established the Palestinian National Authority interim territorial administration as result of the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO, Israel, the United States, and Russia. Between 1994 and 2013, the PNA functioned as an autonomy, thus while the government was seated in the West Bank it was not sovereign. In 2013, Palestine was upgraded to a non-member state status in the UN. All of the above created an ambiguous situation, in which there are two distinct entities: The Palestinian Authority, exercising a severely limited amount of control on the ground and the State of Palestine, recognized by the United Nations and by numerous countries as a sovereign and independent state, but not able to exercise such sovereignty on the ground. Both are headed by the same person—as of February 2016, President Mahmud Abbas—but are judicially distinct.

Exiled governments with ambiguous status Edit

These governments have ties to the area(s) they represent, but their claimed status and/or stated aims are sufficiently ambiguous that they could fit into other categories. [ original research? ]

Taiwan and The Republic of China AKA THE ROC

Dynastic Rule Over China Ends/Double Ten Day/ ROC Forms

In October of 1911, a group of revolutionaries in southern China led a successful revolt against the Qing Dynasty.

The National Day of the Republic of China also referred to as Double Ten Day or Double Tenth Day is the national day of the Republic of China (ROC).

On January 1, 1912, Dr. Sun Yat-sen proclaims the founding of the Republic of China (ROC).

Political Parties Form in China

From the creation of the ROC in 1912 until the defeat of Japan in 1945, Taiwan remained firmly in Japanese hands.

During these years Political Parties are formed in China.
August 1912 Dr. Sun's China’s Nationalist party, Kuomintang (KMT)

July 1921 The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is officially founded.

Retrocession Day in Taiwan

On October 25th 1945 Japan was defeated in WWII. They were was forced to relinquish all overseas possessions. Taiwan, now a spoil of war, was handed over to the ROC.


Taiwan (excluding Penghu) was first populated by Austronesian people and was partially colonized by the Dutch, who had arrived in 1623. The Kingdom of Tungning, lasting from 1661 to 1683, was the first Han Chinese government to rule part of Taiwan. From 1683, the Qing Dynasty ruled much of the eastern plains of Taiwan as a prefecture and in 1875 divided the island into two prefectures. In 1885 the island was made into a separate Chinese province to speed up development in this region. In the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War, Taiwan and Penghu were ceded by the Qing Dynasty to Japan in 1895. Japanese troops in Taiwan surrendered to the Republic of China at end of World War II, putting Taiwan under a Chinese government again after 50 years of Japanese rule. The ROC would then claim sovereignty on the basis of the Qing dynasty's administration, Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Declaration, and Japanese Instrument of Surrender, but this became contested by pro-independence groups in subsequent years due to different perceptions of the said documents' legality. Upon losing the Chinese civil war in 1949, the ROC government retreated to Taipei, and kept control over a few islands along the coast of mainland China and in the South China Sea. The People's Republic of China (PRC) was established in mainland China on 1 October 1949, claiming to be the successor to the ROC. [3]

Quemoy, Matsu and Wuchiu on the coast of Fukien, Taiping and Pratas in the South China Sea, are part of the ROC's present territory, but were not ceded to Japan. Some arguments supporting the independence of Taiwan do not apply to these islands.

Cession, retrocession, legal status, and self-determination of Taiwan Edit

China, during the Qing Dynasty, ceded the island of Taiwan, including Penghu, to Japan "in perpetuity" at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War by signing the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

Argument for Taiwan being legally part of China Edit

In the Cairo Conference of 1943, the allied powers agreed to have Japan restore "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese", specifically listing "Formosa" and Penghu, to the Republic of China after the defeat of Japan. According to both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, this agreement was given legal force by the Instrument of Surrender of Japan in 1945. The PRC's UN Ambassador, Wang Yingfan, has stated multiple times in the UN general committee: "Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territory since antiquity" and "both the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Declaration have reaffirmed in unequivocal terms China's sovereignty over Taiwan as a matter of international law." The PRC rejects arguments involving the lack of a specific treaty (San Francisco Peace Treaty) transferring Taiwan's sovereignty to China by noting that neither PRC nor ROC was a signatory to any such treaty, making the treaties irrelevant with regard to Chinese claims. Also, according to the Treaty of Shimonoseki, China legally surrendered its sovereignty and jurisdiction over Taiwan (Formosa) forever. So, this treaty therefore renders Japan's declaration of the returning of sovereignty over Taiwan to China as well as the PRC's UN Ambassador, Wang Yingfan's claims regarding China's right to sovereignty over Taiwan, as legally extraneous and unsubstantiated. The US and UK governments also hold that the Cairo Declaration made in 1943 is just a war-time statement of intention and cannot itself transfer the sovereignty of Taiwan from Japan to China.

The ROC argues that the Treaty of Taipei implicitly transferred sovereignty of Taiwan to it, however the US State Dept. disagreed with such an interpretation in its 1971 Starr Memorandum. [4]

Arguments against Taiwan being legally part of China Edit

A number of supporters of Taiwan independence argue that Taiwan was only formally incorporated as a Chinese territory under the Qing Dynasty in 1683, and as a province in 1885. Subsequently, because of the Shimonoseki Treaty of 1895, Taiwan had been de jure part of Japan when the ROC was established in 1912 and thus was not part of the Chinese republic. Also, because the Cairo Declaration was an unsigned press communiqué, the independence advocates argue that the legal effectiveness of the Declaration is highly questionable. Furthermore, they point out that the Instrument of Surrender of Japan was no more than an armistice, a "modus vivendi" in nature, which served as a temporary or provisional agreement that would be replaced with a peace treaty. Therefore, only a military occupation of Taiwan began on 25 October 1945, and both the Treaty of San Francisco and Treaty of Taipei hold legal supremacy over the surrender instrument. These treaties did not transfer the title of Taiwan from Japan to China. Some argue that Taiwan was returned to the people of Taiwan when Japan renounced sovereignty of Taiwan based on the policy of self-determination which has been applied to "territories which detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War" as defined by article 76b and 77b of the United Nations Charter and also by the protocol of the Yalta Conference. The United Nations General Assembly has not been particularly receptive to this argument, and the ROC's applications for admission to the United Nations have been rejected 15 times. [5]

Although the interpretation of the peace treaties was used to challenge the legitimacy of the ROC on Taiwan before the 1990s, the introduction of popular elections in Taiwan has compromised this position. Except for the most extreme Taiwan independence supporters, most Taiwanese support the popular sovereignty theory and no longer see much conflict between this theory of sovereignty and the ROC position. In this sense, the ROC government currently administering Taiwan is not the same ROC which accepted Japanese surrender because the ruling authorities were given popular mandate by different pools of constituencies: one is the mainland Chinese electorate, the other is the Taiwanese constituencies. In fact, former president Chen Shui-bian has been frequently emphasizing the popular sovereignty theory in his speeches.

However, as of 2010, the conflict between these two theories still plays a role in internal Taiwanese politics. The popular sovereignty theory, which the pan-green coalition emphasizes, suggests that Taiwan could make fundamental constitutional changes by means of a popular referendum. The ROC legal theory, which is supported by the pan-blue coalition, suggests that any fundamental constitutional changes would require that the amendment procedure of the ROC constitution be followed.

1895–1945 – Japanese rule Edit

Treaty of Shimonoseki Edit

Taiwan (Formosa) including the Pescadores were permanently ceded by Qing Dynasty China to Imperial Japan via Articles 2b and 2c of the Treaty of Shimonoseki on 8 May 1895 in one of what the Chinese term as an unequal treaty. Kinmen and Matsu Islands on the coast of Fukien, and the islands in the South China Sea currently administered by the Republic of China on Taiwan were not part of the cession.

In 1895, subsequent to the Treaty of Shimonoseki, officials in Taiwan declared independence in the hope of returning the island to Qing rule. The Republic of Taiwan (1895) collapsed after 12 days due to political infighting, but local leaders continued resistance in the hope of achieving self-rule. The incoming Japanese crushed the island's independence bid in a five-month campaign.

The Chinese Qing Dynasty was subsequently overthrown and replaced by the Republic of China (ROC). Upon the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the ROC declared the Treaty of Shimonoseki void in its declaration of war on Japan. The war soon merged with World War II, and Japan was subsequently defeated in 1945 by the Allied Powers, of which the ROC was a part.

Potsdam Declaration and surrender of Japan Edit

The United States entered the War in December 1941. Most military attacks against Japanese installations and Japanese troops in Taiwan were conducted by United States military forces. At the Cairo Conference, the U.S., United Kingdom, and the ROC agreed that Taiwan was to be restored to the ROC after the war. This agreement was enunciated in the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration, which outlined the terms of Japanese surrender, specified that the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.

When Japan unconditionally surrendered, it accepted in its Instrument of Surrender the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Japanese troops in Taiwan were directed to surrender to the representatives of the Supreme Allied Commander in the China Theater, Chiang Kai-shek (i.e. the Republic of China military forces) on behalf of the Allies, according to the directions of General Douglas MacArthur, head of the United States Military Government, in General Order No. 1, which was issued 2 September 1945. Chief Executive Chen Yi of Republic of China soon proclaimed "Taiwan Retrocession Day" on 25 October 1945.

1945–present – post-World War II status Edit

1947 – 228 Incident Edit

When the 228 Incident erupted on 28 February 1947, the U.S. Consulate-General in Taipei prepared a report in early March, calling for an immediate intervention in the name of the U.S. or the United Nations. Based on the argument that the Japanese surrender did not formally transfer sovereignty, Taiwan was still legally part of Japan and occupied by the United States (with administrative authority for the occupation delegated to the Chinese Nationalists), and a direct intervention was appropriate for a territory with such status. This proposed intervention, however, was rejected by the U.S. State Department. In a news report on the aftermath of the 228 Incident, some Taiwanese residents were reported to be talking of appealing to the United Nations to put the island under an international mandate, since China's possession of Taiwan had not been formalized by any international treaties by that time and the island was therefore still under belligerent occupation. [6] They later made a demand for a treaty role to be represented at the forthcoming peace conference on Japan, in the hope of requesting a plebiscite to determine the island's political future. [7]

1950–1953 – Korean War and U.S. intervention Edit

At the start of 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman appeared to accept the idea that sovereignty over Taiwan was already settled when the United States Department of State stated that "In keeping with these [Cairo and Potsdam] declarations, Formosa was surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang-Kai Shek, and for the past four years, the United States and Other Allied Powers have accepted the exercise of Chinese authority over the Island." [8] However, after the outbreak of the Korean War, Truman decided to "neutralize" Taiwan claiming that it could otherwise trigger another world war. In June 1950, President Truman, who had previously given only passive support to Chiang Kai-shek and was prepared to see Taiwan fall into the hands of the Chinese Communists, vowed to stop the spread of communism and sent the U.S. Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent the PRC from attacking Taiwan, but also to prevent the ROC from attacking mainland China. He then declared that "the determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations." [9] President Truman later reaffirmed the position "that all questions affecting Formosa be settled by peaceful means as envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations" in his special message to the Congress in July 1950. [10] The PRC denounced his moves as flagrant interference in the internal affairs of China.

On 8 September 1950, President Truman ordered John Foster Dulles, then Foreign Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, to carry out his decision on "neutralizing" Taiwan in drafting the Treaty of Peace with Japan (San Francisco Peace Treaty) of 1951. According to George H. Kerr's memoir Formosa Betrayed, Dulles devised a plan whereby Japan would first merely renounce its sovereignty over Taiwan without a recipient country to allow the sovereignty over Taiwan to be determined together by the United States, the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and Republic of China on behalf of other nations on the peace treaty. The question of Taiwan would be taken into the United Nations (which the ROC was still part), if these four parties could not reach into an agreement within one year.

1952 – Treaty of Peace with Japan (San Francisco) Edit

When Japan regained sovereignty over itself in 1952 with the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace with Japan (San Francisco Peace Treaty) with 48 nations, Japan renounced all claims and title over Taiwan and the Pescadores. Many claim that Japanese sovereignty only terminated at that point. [11] Notably absent at the peace conference was the ROC which was expelled from mainland China in December 1949 as a result of the Chinese Civil War and had retreated to Taiwan. The PRC, which was proclaimed 1 October 1949, was also not invited. The lack of invitation was probably due to the dispute over which government was the legitimate government of China (which both governments claimed to be) however, Cold War considerations might have played a part as well. [ citation needed ] Some major governments represented in the San Francisco Conference, such as the UK and Soviet Union, had already established relations with the PRC, while others, such as the U.S. and Japan, still held relations with the ROC.

The UK at that time stated for the record that the San Francisco Peace Treaty "itself does not determine the future of these islands," and therefore the UK, along with Australia and New Zealand, was happy to sign the peace treaty. [12] One of the major reasons that the delegate from the Soviet Union gave for not signing the treaty was that: "The draft contains only a reference to the renunciation by Japan of its rights to these territories [Taiwan] but intentionally omits any mention of the further fate of these territories." [12]

Article 25 of this treaty officially stipulated that only the Allied Powers defined in the treaty could benefit from this treaty. China was not listed as one of the Allied Powers however, article 21 still provided limited benefits from Articles 10 and 14(a)2 for China. Japan's cession of Taiwan is unusual in that no recipient of Taiwan was stated as part of Dulles's plan of "neutralizing" Taiwan. The ROC protested its lack of invitation to the San Francisco Peace conference, to no avail.

1952 – Treaty of Taipei Edit

Subsequently, the Treaty of Taipei was concluded between the ROC and Japan on 28 April 1952 (effective 5 August), where Japan essentially re-affirmed the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and formalized the peace between the ROC and Japan. It also nullified all previous treaties made between China and Japan. Article 10 of the treaty specifies:

"For the purposes of the present Treaty, nationals of the Republic of China shall be deemed to include all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) and their descendants who are of the Chinese nationality in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores)."

However, the ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs George Kung-ch'ao Yeh told the Legislative Yuan after signing the treaty that: "The delicate international situation makes it that they [Taiwan and Penghu] do not belong to us. Under present circumstances, Japan has no right to transfer [Taiwan] to us nor can we accept such a transfer from Japan even if she so wishes." [12] In July 1971 the U.S. State Department's position was, and remains: "As Taiwan and the Pescadores are not covered by any existing international disposition, sovereignty over the area is an unsettled question subject to future international resolution." [12]

Position of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Edit

The position of the PRC is that the ROC ceased to be a legitimate government upon the founding of the former on 1 October 1949 and that the PRC is the successor of the ROC as the sole legitimate government of China, with the right to rule Taiwan under the succession of states theory. [13]

The position of PRC is that the ROC and PRC are two different factions in the Chinese Civil War, which never legally ended. Therefore the PRC claims that both factions belong to the same sovereign country—China. Since, as per the PRC, Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to China, the PRC's government and supporters believe that the secession of Taiwan should be agreed upon by all 1.3 billion Chinese citizens instead of just the 23 million residents of Taiwan. [14] Furthermore, the position of PRC is that UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, which states "Recognizing that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations", means that the PRC is recognized as having the sovereignty of all of China, including Taiwan. [note 2] Therefore, the PRC believes that it is within their legal rights to extend its jurisdiction to Taiwan, by military means if at all necessary.

In addition, the position of PRC is that the ROC does not meet the fourth criterion of the Montevideo Convention, as it is recognized by only 14 UN member states and has been denied access to international organizations such as the UN. The PRC points out the fact that the Montevideo Convention was only signed by 19 states at the Seventh International Conference of American States. Thus the authority of the United Nations as well as UN Resolutions should supersede the Montevideo Convention. However, "When speaking of statehood, one invariably refers to the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, 60 which, laying down what is now considered a rule of customary international law, states that "[t] he State as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population (b) a defined territory (c) government and (d) capacity to enter into relations with other States." Taiwan indeed satisfies all these criteria for statehood." [15] Many would argue that Taiwan meets all the requirements of the Montevideo Convention. But to make such an argument, one has to reject China's claim of sovereignty over the territory of the Taiwan island, a claim that has been recognized by most states in the world. [16]

It is clear that the PRC still maintains that "there is only one China in the world" and "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China", however instead of "the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China", the PRC now emphasizes that "both Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China". [ citation needed ] Although the current position allows for flexibility in terms of defining that "one China", any departure from the One-China policy is deemed unacceptable by the PRC government. The PRC government is unwilling to negotiate with the ROC government under any formulation other than One-China policy, although a more flexible definition of "one China" such as found in the 1992 consensus is possible under PRC policy. The PRC government considers the 1992 consensus a temporary measure to set aside sovereignty disputes and to enable talks.

The PRC government considers perceived violations of its "One-China policy" or inconsistencies with it such as supplying the ROC with arms a violation of its rights to territorial integrity. [17] International news organizations often report that "China considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be united with the mainland by force if necessary", even though the PRC does not explicitly say that Taiwan is a "renegade province" in any press releases. However, official PRC media outlets and officials often refer to Taiwan as "China's Taiwan Province" or simply "Taiwan, China", and pressure international organizations to use the term.

Position of the Republic of China (ROC) Edit

The ROC argues that it maintains all the characteristics of a state and that it was not "replaced" or "succeeded" by the PRC because it has continued to exist long after the PRC's founding.

According to the Montevideo Convention of 1933, the most cited source for the definition of statehood, a state must possess a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Many argue that the ROC meets all these criteria. However, to make such an argument, one has to reject the PRC's claim of sovereignty over the territory of the Taiwan island, a claim that the PRC has forced all other states to accept as a condition to establish diplomatic relations with it, as well as severing said relations with the ROC. Most states have either officially recognized this claim or carefully worded their agreement ambiguously, such as the United States [ citation needed ] . [18]

Both the original 1912 constitution and the 1923 draft version failed to list Taiwan as a part of the ROC since at the time Taiwan was Japanese territory. It was only in the mid-1930s when both the CPC and KMT realised the future strategic importance of Taiwan that they altered their party positions to make a claim on Taiwan as a part of China. After losing the Civil War against the Communist Party in 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan, and continued to maintain that their government represented all of China, i.e. both Taiwan and the mainland.

The position of most supporters of Taiwan independence is that the PRC is the government of "China" and that Taiwan is not part of China, defining "China" as only including Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Regarding the ROC, one ideology within Taiwan independence regards the ROC as already an independent, sovereign state, and seeks to amend the ROC's existing name, constitution, and existing framework to reflect the loss of ROC's mainland territory, and transform ROC into a Taiwan state while another ideology of Taiwan independence regards the ROC as both a military government that has been administering the Taiwan island as a result of post-war military occupation on behalf of the allies of World War II since 1945, and a Chinese refugee regime currently in exile on Taiwan since 1949, and seeks to eliminate the ROC and establish a new independent Taiwan state.

The Democratic Progressive Party states that Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of the PRC, and that the PRC does not exercise any hold over the 23 million Taiwanese on the island. On the other hand, the position of most Chinese reunification supporters is that the Chinese Civil War is still not over since no peace agreement has ever been signed, and that the current status is a state of ceasefire between two belligerents of "One China".

The position of the Republic of China has been that it is a de jure sovereign state. "Republic of China," according to the ROC government's definition, extended to both mainland China (Including Hong Kong and Macau) and the island of Taiwan. [19]

In 1991, President Lee Teng-hui unofficially claimed that the government would no longer challenge the rule of the Communists in mainland China, the ROC government under Kuomintang (KMT) rule actively maintained that it was the sole legitimate government of China. The Courts in Taiwan have never accepted President Lee's statement, primarily due to the reason that the (now defunct) National Assembly never officially changed the acclaimed national borders. Notably, the People's Republic of China claims that changing the national borders would be "a precursor to Taiwan independence". The task of changing the national borders now requires a constitutional amendment passed by the Legislative Yuan and ratified by a majority of all eligible ROC voters, which the PRC has implied would constitute grounds for military attack.

On the other hand, though the constitution of the Republic of China promulgated in 1946 does not state exactly what territory it includes, the draft of the constitution of 1925 did individually list the provinces of the Republic of China and Taiwan was not among them, since Taiwan was arguably de jure part of Japan as the result of the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895. The constitution also stipulated in Article I.4, that "the territory of the ROC is the original territory governed by it unless authorized by the National Assembly, it cannot be altered." However, in 1946, Sun Fo, son of Sun Yat-Sen and the minister of the Executive Yuan of the ROC, reported to the National Assembly that "there are two types of territory changes: 1. renouncing territory and 2. annexing new territory. The first example would be the independence of Mongolia, and the second example would be the reclamation of Taiwan. Both would be examples of territory changes." Japan renounced all rights to Taiwan in the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 and the Treaty of Taipei of 1952 without an explicit recipient. While the ROC continuously ruled Taiwan after the government was directed to Taiwan by the General Order No. 1 (1945) to receive Japanese surrender, there has never been a meeting of the ROC National Assembly in making a territory change according to the ROC constitution. The explanatory memorandum to the constitution explained the omission of individually listing the provinces as opposed to the earlier drafts was an act of deliberate ambiguity: as the ROC government does not recognize the validity of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, based on Chiang Kai-shek's Denunciation of the treaty in the late 1930s, hence (according to this argument) the sovereignty of Taiwan was never disposed by China. A ratification by the ROC National Assembly is therefore unnecessary.

The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China have mentioned "Taiwan Province," and the now defunct National Assembly passed constitutional amendments that give the people of the "Free Area of the Republic of China", comprising the territories under its current jurisdiction, the sole right, until reunification, to exercise the sovereignty of the Republic through elections [19] [20] of the President and the entire Legislature as well as through elections to ratify amendments to the ROC constitution. Also, Chapter I, Article 2 of the ROC constitution states that "The sovereignty of the Republic of China shall reside in the whole body of citizens." This suggests that the constitution implicitly admits that the sovereignty of the ROC is limited to the areas that it controls even if there is no constitutional amendment that explicitly spells out the ROC's borders.

In 1999, ROC President Lee Teng-hui proposed a two-state theory (兩國論) in which both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China would acknowledge that they are two separate countries with a special diplomatic, cultural and historic relationship. [21] [22] This however drew an angry reaction from the PRC who believed that Lee was covertly supporting Taiwan independence. [23]

President Chen Shui-bian (2000 – May 2008) fully supported the idea that the "Republic of China is an independent, sovereign country" but held the view that the Republic of China is Taiwan and Taiwan does not belong to the People's Republic of China. This is suggested in his Four-stage Theory of the Republic of China. Due to the necessity of avoiding war with the PRC however, President Chen had refrained from formally declaring Taiwan's independence. Government publications have implied that Taiwan refers to the ROC, and "China" refers to the PRC. [19] After becoming chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party in July 2002, Chen appeared to move further than Lee's special two-state theory and in early August 2002, by putting forward the "one country on each side" concept, he stated that Taiwan may "go on its own Taiwanese road" and that "it is clear that the two sides of the straits are separate countries." These statements essentially eliminate any "special" factors in the relations and were strongly criticized by opposition parties in Taiwan. President Chen has repeatedly refused to endorse the One China Principle or the more "flexible" 1992 Consensus the PRC demands as a precursor to negotiations with the PRC. During Chen's presidency, there had not been any successful attempts to restart negotiations on a semi-official level.

In the 2008 ROC elections, the people delivered KMT's Ma Ying-jeou with an election win as well as a sizable majority in the legislature. President Ma, throughout his election campaign, maintained that he would accept the 1992 consensus and promote better relations with the PRC. In respect of Taiwan political status, his policy was 1. he would not negotiate with the PRC on the subject of reunification during his term 2. he would never declare Taiwan independence and 3. he would not provoke the PRC into attacking Taiwan. He officially accepted the 1992 Consensus in his inauguration speech which resulted in direct semi-official talks with the PRC, and this later led to the commencement of weekend direct charter flights between mainland China and Taiwan. President Ma also interprets the cross-strait relations as "special", "but not that between two nations". [24] He later stated that mainland China is part of the territory of the Republic of China, and laws relating to international relations are not applicable to the relations between mainland China and Taiwan, as they are parts of a state. [25] [26] [27]

In 2016, Tsai Ing-Wen of the DPP won a landslide victory on the Presidential election, and was later re-elected for the second term in 2020. She refused to agree that Taiwan is part of China, and also rejects the One country, two systems model proposed by the PRC. Instead she said that Taiwan is already an independent country and Beijing must face this reality. [28]

Position of other countries and international organizations Edit

Because of anti-communist sentiment at the start of the Cold War, the Republic of China was initially recognized as the sole legitimate government of China by the United Nations and most Western nations. On 9 January 1950, the Israeli government extended recognition to the People's Republic of China. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 505, passed on 1 February 1952 considered the Chinese communists to be rebels against the Republic of China. However, the 1970s saw a switch in diplomatic recognitions from the ROC to the PRC. On 25 October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly, which "decides to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it." Multiple attempts by the Republic of China to rejoin the UN, no longer to represent all of China but just the people of the territories it governs, have not made it past committee, largely due to diplomatic maneuvering by the PRC, which claims Resolution 2758 has settled the matter. [note 3]

The PRC refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with any nation that recognizes the ROC, [13] but does not object to nations conducting economic, cultural, and other such exchanges with Taiwan that do not imply diplomatic relation. Therefore, many nations that have diplomatic relations with Beijing maintain quasi-diplomatic offices in Taipei. Similarly, the government in Taiwan maintains quasi-diplomatic offices in most nations under various names, most commonly as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

The United States of America is one of the main allies of Taiwan and, since the Taiwan Relations Act passed in 1979, the United States has sold arms and provided military training to Taiwan's Republic of China Armed Forces. [29] This situation continues to be a point of contention for People's Republic of China, which considers US involvement disruptive to the stability of the region. In January 2010, the Obama administration announced its intention to sell $6.4 billion worth of military hardware to Taiwan. As a consequence, China threatened the United States with economic sanctions and warned that their cooperation on international and regional issues could suffer. [30] The official position of the United States is that China is expected to "use no force or threat[en] to use force against Taiwan" and that Taiwan is to "exercise prudence in managing all aspects of Cross-Strait relations." Both are to refrain from performing actions or espousing statements "that would unilaterally alter Taiwan's status." [31] The United States maintains the American Institute in Taiwan.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, Pakistan and Canada have formally adopted the One China policy, under which the People's Republic of China is theoretically the sole legitimate government of China. However, the United States and Japan acknowledge rather than recognize the PRC position that Taiwan is part of China. In the case of the United Kingdom and Canada, [32] bilateral written agreements state that the two respective parties take note of Beijing's position but do not use the word support. The UK government position that "the future of Taiwan be decided peacefully by the peoples of both sides of the Strait" has been stated several times. Despite the PRC claim that the United States opposes Taiwanese independence, the United States takes advantage of the subtle difference between "oppose" and "does not support". In fact, a substantial majority of the statements Washington has made says that it "does not support Taiwan independence" instead of saying that it "opposes" independence. Thus, the US currently does not take a position on the political outcome, except for one explicit condition that there be a peaceful resolution to the differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. [31] The United States bi-partisan position is that it does not recognize the PRC's claim over Taiwan, and considers Taiwan's status as unsettled. [33] All of this ambiguity has resulted in the United States constantly walking on a diplomatic tightrope with regard to cross strait relations.

The ROC maintains formal diplomatic relations with 14 UN member states, mostly in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Oceania. Additionally, the Holy See also recognizes the ROC, a largely non-Christian/Catholic state, due partly to the Catholic Church's traditional opposition to communism, and also to protest what it sees as the PRC's suppression of the Catholic faith in mainland China. However, Vatican diplomats were engaged in talks with PRC politicians at the time of Pope John Paul II's death, with a view towards improving relations between the two countries. When asked, one Vatican diplomat suggested that relations with Taiwan might prove "expendable" should PRC be willing to engage in positive diplomatic relations with the Holy See. [34] Under Pope Benedict XVI the Vatican and PRC have shown greater interest in establishing ties, including the appointment of pro-Vatican bishops and the Pope canceling a planned visit from the 14th Dalai Lama. [35]

During the 1990s, there was a diplomatic tug of war in which the PRC and ROC attempted to outbid each other to obtain the diplomatic support of small nations. This struggle seems to have slowed as a result of the PRC's growing economic power and doubts in Taiwan as to whether this aid was actually in the Republic of China's interest. In March 2004, Dominica switched recognition to the PRC in exchange for a large aid package. [36] However, in late 2004, Vanuatu briefly switched recognition from Beijing to Taipei, [37] followed by a return to its recognition of Beijing. [38] On 20 January 2005, Grenada switched its recognition from Taipei to Beijing, in return for millions in aid (US$1,500 for every Grenadian). [39] However, on 14 May 2005, Nauru announced the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Taipei after a three-year hiatus, during which it briefly recognized the People's Republic of China. [40]

On 26 October 2005, Senegal broke off relations with the Republic of China and established diplomatic contacts with Beijing. [41] The following year, on 5 August 2006, Taipei ended relations with Chad when Chad established relations with Beijing. [42] On 26 April 2007, however, Saint Lucia, which had previously severed ties with the Republic of China following a change of government in December 1996, announced the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Taipei. [43] On 7 June 2007, Costa Rica broke off diplomatic ties with the Republic of China in favour of the People's Republic of China. [44] In January 2008 Malawi's foreign minister reported Malawi decided to cut diplomatic recognition of the Republic of China and recognize the People's Republic of China. [45]

The latest countries to break off formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan were El Salvador on 21 August 2018 [46] as well as Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September 2019. [47] On 4 November 2013, the Government of Gambia announced its break up with Taiwan, but the Foreign Affairs Ministry of China denied any ties with this political movement, adding that they were not considering on building a relation with this African nation. [48]

Currently, the countries who maintain formal diplomatic relations with the ROC are:

  • Belize (1989)
  • Guatemala (1960)
  • Eswatini1 (1968)
  • Haiti (1956)
  • Honduras (1965)
  • Marshall Islands (1998)
  • Nauru (1980–2002, 2005)
  • Nicaragua (1990)
  • Palau (1999)
  • Paraguay (1957)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983)
  • Saint Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
  • Tuvalu (1979)
  • Vatican City (The Holy See) (1942)

Under continuing pressure from the PRC to bar any representation of the ROC that may imply statehood, international organizations have adopted different policies toward the issue of ROC's participation. In cases where almost all UN members or sovereign states participate, such as the World Health Organization, [49] the ROC has been completely shut out, while in others, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) the ROC participates under unusual names: "Chinese Taipei" in the case of APEC and the IOC, and the "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kimmen and Matsu" (often shortened as "Chinese Taipei") in the case of the WTO. After nine years of negotiations, members of the WTO completed the conditions on which to allow Taiwan admittance into the multilateral trade organization. At the end of 2011, Jeffery Bader, Assistant United States Trade Representative for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, led and finalized the final stages of Taiwan's accession to the WTO which were approved by trade ministers in November in Doha, Qatar. The issue of ROC's name came under scrutiny during the 2006 World Baseball Classic. The organizers of the 16-team tournament intended to call Taiwan as such, but reverted to "Chinese Taipei" under pressure from PRC. The ROC protested the decision, claiming that the WBC is not an IOC event, but did not prevail. [ citation needed ] The ISO 3166 directory of names of countries and territories registers Taiwan (TW) separately from and in addition to the People's Republic of China (CN), but lists Taiwan as "Taiwan, Province of China" based on the name used by the UN under PRC pressure. In ISO 3166-2:CN, Taiwan is also coded CN-71 under China, thus making Taiwan part of China in ISO 3166-1 and ISO 3166-2 categories.

Naming issues surrounding Taiwan/ROC continue to be a contentious issue in non-governmental organizations such as the Lions Club, which faced considerable controversy naming its Taiwanese branch. [50]

Arguments for the Republic of China and/or People's Republic of China sovereignty claims Edit

Today, the ROC is the de facto government of Taiwan whereas the PRC is the de facto government over Mainland China. However, each government claims to be the legitimate government of all China de jure. The arguments below are frequently used by proponents and/or opponents of these claims.

Arguments common to both the PRC and ROC

The ROC and PRC both officially support the One China policy and thus share common arguments. In the arguments below, "Chinese" is an ambiguous term that could mean the PRC and/or ROC as legal government(s) of China.

  1. The waging of aggressive war by Japan against China in 1937 and beyond violates the peace that was brokered in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1941, with the declaration of war against Japan, the Chinese government declared this treaty void ab initio (never happened in the first place). Therefore, some argue that, with no valid transfer of sovereignty taking place, the sovereignty of Taiwan naturally belongs to China. [51]
  2. The Cairo Declaration of 1 December 1943 was accepted by Japan in its surrender. This document states that Taiwan was to be restored to the Republic of China at the end of World War II. Likewise, the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945, also accepted by Japan, implies that it will no longer have sovereignty over Taiwan by stating that "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands".
  3. The proclamation of Taiwan Retrocession Day on 25 October 1945, by the ROC (when the PRC had not yet been founded) was entirely uncontested. Had another party been sovereign over Taiwan, that party would have had a period of years in which to protest, and its failure to do so represents cession of rights in the manner of prescription. The lack of protest by any non-Chinese government persists to this day, further strengthening this argument. [52]
  4. The exclusion of Chinese governments (both ROC and PRC) in the negotiation process of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) nullified any legal binding power of the SFPT on China, including any act of renouncing or disposing of sovereignty. In addition, the fact that neither ROC nor PRC government ever ratified SFPT terms, prescribes that the SFPT is irrelevant to any discussion of Chinese sovereignty. [dubious – discuss]
  5. Even if the SFPT were determinative, it should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Potsdam and Cairo Declarations, therefore sovereignty would still have been transferred to China. [53]
  6. SFPT's validity has come into question as some of the countries participating in the San Francisco conference, such as the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and North and South Korea refused to sign the treaty. [54]
  7. Assuming SFPT is valid in determining the sovereignty over Taiwan, Japan, in the article 2 of the SFPT, renounced all rights, without assigning a recipient, regarding Taiwan. Japan in the same article also renounced, without assigning a recipient, areas which are now internationally recognised as territories of Russia as well as other countries. [dubious – discuss] Given that the sovereignty of these countries over renounced areas are undisputed, the Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan must also be undisputed. [54]

Arguments in support of ROC sovereignty claims

  1. The ROC fulfills all requirements for a state according to the Convention of Montevideo, which means it has a territory, a people, and a government.
  2. The ROC continues to exist since its establishment in 1911, only on a reduced territory after 1949.
  3. The creation and continuity of a state is only a factual issue, not a legal question. Declarations and recognition by other states cannot have any impact on their existence. According to the declaratory theory of recognition, the recognition of third states are not a requirement for being a state. Most of the cited declarations by American or British politicians are not legal statements but solely political intents.
  4. The PRC has never exercised control over Taiwan.
  5. The Treaty of Taipei formalized the peace between Japan and the ROC. In it, Japan reaffirmed Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration and voided all treaties conducted between China and Japan (including the Treaty of Shimonoseki).
  6. Applying the principle of uti possidetis with regard to the Treaty of Taipei would grant Taiwan's sovereignty to the ROC, as it is undisputed that at the coming into force of the treaty, the ROC controlled Taiwan. [55]
  7. Article 4 of the ROC Constitution clearly states that "The territory of the Republic of China" is defined "according to its existing national boundaries. " Taiwan was historically part of China and is therefore naturally included therein. Also, as Treaty of Shimonoseki is void ab initio, [dubious – discuss] China has never legally dispossessed of the sovereignty of the territory. There is, accordingly, no need to have a National Assembly resolution to include the territory.
  8. The ROC – USA Mutual Defense Treaty of 1955 states that "the terms "territorial" and "territories" shall mean in respect of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Pescadores" and thus can be read as implicitly recognizing the ROC sovereignty over Taiwan. [dubious – discuss] However, the treaty was terminated in 1980.

Arguments in support of PRC sovereignty claims

  1. The PRC does not recognize the validity of any of the unequal treaties the Qing signed in the "century of humiliation," as it considers them all unjust and illegal, as is the position during Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC. As such, the cession of Taiwan in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki actually never took place in a de jure fashion. The PRC, as the successor to the Qing and ROC in that order, therefore inherited the sovereignty of Taiwan. [original research?]
  2. The return of the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC was confirmed on 25 October 1945, on the basis of the Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Proclamation, Japanese Instrument of Surrender, and the invalidity of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, the PRC became the successor government to the ROC in representing China, and as such the PRC unquestionably holds the sovereignty of Taiwan. [original research?]
  3. In the Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China to the end of Treaty of Taipei, the document signifying the commencement of the PRC and Japan's formal relations, Japan in article 3 stated that it fully understands and respects the position of the Government of the People's Republic of China that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. Japan also firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration which says "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out". The Cairo Declaration says "All territories Japan has stolen from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China". The PRC argues that it is a successor state of the ROC and is therefore entitled to all of the ROC's holdings and benefits. [56]

Arguments for Taiwanese self-sovereignty claims and its legal status Edit

Arguments for Taiwan already being an independent, sovereign nation

  1. The peace that was brokered in the Treaty of Shimonoseki was breached by the Boxer Rebellion, which led to the conclusion of the Boxer Protocol of 1901 (Peace Agreement between the Great Powers and China), [57] and China, not by the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was a dispositive treaty, therefore it is not voidable or nullifiable (this doctrine being that treaties specifying particular actions which can be completed, once the action gets completed,cannot be voided or reversed without a new treaty specifically reversing that clause). Hence, the unequal treaty doctrine cannot be applied to this treaty. [citation needed] By way of comparison, as 200,000,000 Kuping taels were not returned to China from Japan, and Korea had not become a Chinese-dependent country again, the cession in the treaty was executed and cannot be nullified. The disposition of Formosa and the Pescadores in this treaty was a legitimate cession by conquest, confirmed by treaty, and thus is not a theft, as described as "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese" in Cairo Declaration.
  2. It should also be noted that the Qing court exercised effective sovereignty over primarily the west coast of Taiwan only, and even then did not regard the area as an integral part of national Chinese territory. [citation needed]
  3. The "Cairo Declaration" was merely an unsigned press communiqué which does not carry a legal status, while the Potsdam Proclamation and Instrument of Surrender are simply modus vivendi and armistice that function as temporary records and do not bear legally binding power to transfer sovereignty. Good faith of interpretation only takes place at the level of treaties.
  4. The "retrocession" proclaimed by ROC in 1945 was legally null and impossible since Taiwan was still de jure part of Japan before the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect on 28 April 1952. Consequently, the announcement of the mass-naturalization of native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens in January 1946 is unjust and void Ab initio. After the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect, the sovereignty of Taiwan naturally belonged to the Taiwanese people.
  5. Some of Taiwan independence supporters once used arguments not in favor of Chinese sovereignty to dispute to legitimacy of the Kuomintang-controlled government that ruled over Taiwan, they have dropped these arguments due to the democratization of Taiwan. This has allowed the more moderate supporters of independence to stress the popular sovereignty theory in order to accept the legitimacy of the Republic of China (whose government the Democratic Progressive Party used to control) in Taiwan. Former President Chen Shui-bian, by his interpretation of the "Republic of China", has repeatedly confirmed that the "Republic of China is Taiwan."
  6. Sovereignty transfer to the ROC by prescription does not apply to Taiwan's case since:
    1. Prescription is the manner of acquiring property by a long, honest, and uninterrupted possession or use during the time required by law. The possession must have been possessio longa, continua, et pacifica, nec sit ligitima interruptio (long, continued, peaceable, and without lawful interruption). For prescription to apply, the state with title to the territory must acquiesce to the action of the other state. Yet, PRC has never established an occupation on Taiwan and exercised sovereignty
    2. Prescription as a rule for acquiring sovereignty itself is not universally accepted. The International Court of Justice ruled that Belgium retained its sovereignty over territories even by non-assertion of its rights and by acquiescence to acts of sovereign control alleged to have been exercised by the Netherlands over a period of 109 years [58]
    3. Also by way of comparison, even after 38 years of continuous control, the international community did not recognize sovereignty rights to the Gaza Strip by Israel, and the Israeli cabinet formally declared an end to military rule there as of 12 September 2005, with a removal of all Israeli settlers and military bases from the Strip
    4. A pro-independence group, which formed a Provisional Government of Formosa in 2000, argued that both the 228 incident of 1947 and the Provisional Government of Formosa have constituted protests against ROC government's claim of retrocession within a reasonable twenty-five-year (or more) acquiescence period [59]
    5. Taiwanese residents were unable to make a protest after the 228 incident due to the authoritarian rule under KMT regime which suppressed all pro-independence opinion and
    6. Japan was not able to cast a protest as it was under military occupation at the time however it did not renounce its sovereignty over Taiwan until 28 April 1952. [60]

    Arguments by various groups that claim Taiwan should declare itself to be an independent sovereign nation

    1. As one of the "territories which detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War" defined in the articles 76b and 77b of the United Nations Charter, which China signed in 1945 and also defined in the protocol of Yalta Conference, Taiwan qualifies for the UN trusteeship program, and after a period of time would later be considered fully independent. The ROC, as a founding member of the United Nations, has a treaty obligation to comply with the UN Charter and to help the people living in Taiwan enjoy the right of self-determination.
    2. The San Francisco Peace Treaty is definitive, where Japan ceded Taiwan (like Sakhalin and Kuril Islands etc.) without specifying a clear recipient. China was prohibited [by whom?] [citation needed] from acquiring Taiwan sovereignty as a benefit when the treaty was finalized [original research?] . Moreover, the Treaty of Taipei only became effective on 5 August 1952, over three months after the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on 28 April 1952. Hence, the Treaty of Taipei cannot be interpreted to have ceded the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC or the PRC, but only as a recognition of the territories which ROC had and under its control, as Japan cannot cede what it no longer possessed.
    3. Since the peace brokered in the Boxer Protocol of 1901 was breached by the second Sino-Japanese War, the San Francisco Peace Treaty specifies that the date to be used in returning territory to China in Article 10 was 1901, not 1895. The postliminium restoration of China was completed without sovereignty over Taiwan since Taiwan was not part of China when the first Chinese Republic was established in 1911. Moreover, the Treaty of Taipei was abrogated by Japan upon the PRC's request in 1972.
    4. Cession of Taiwan without a recipient was neither unusual nor unique, since Cuba, as a precedent, was ceded by Spain without recipient in Treaty of Paris of 1898 as the result of Spanish–American War. Cuba reached independence in May 1902. At the end of WWII, Libya and Somaliland were also relinquished without recipient by Italy in the Treaty of peace with Italy of 1947 and both reached independence later.
    5. The Nationality Law of the Republic of China was originally promulgated in February 1929. However, no amendment or change to this law or any other law has ever been made by the Legislative Yuan in the post WWII period to reflect any mass-naturalization of native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens. This is important because Article 10 of the Treaty of Taipei specifies: "For the purposes of the present Treaty, nationals of the Republic of China shall be deemed to include all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) and their descendants who are of the Chinese nationality in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) . " Since no relevant laws or regulations have ever been promulgated, there is no legal basis to consider native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens.
    6. Furthermore it is recognized that the ROC government currently administering Taiwan is not the same ROC that accepted Japanese surrender in 1945, because the ruling authorities were given popular mandate by different pools of constituencies: one is the mainland Chinese electorate, the other local Taiwanese. The popular sovereignty theory, to which the Pan-Green coalition subscribes, emphasizes that Taiwan could make fundamental constitutional changes and choose a new national title by means of a popular referendum. (In contrast, the ROC legal theory, which is supported by the Pan-Blue coalition suggests that any fundamental constitutional changes would require that the amendment procedure of the ROC constitution be followed.)
    7. Nevertheless the popular sovereignty theory does not contradict any arguments in favor of self-determination, nor does it affirm arguments in favor of Chinese sovereignty. This means that at present the only obstacle against declaring Taiwan independence is a lack of consensus among the Taiwanese people to do so however it is clear that the consensus is changing as the Taiwanese people begin preparations for their 15th application for entrance to the United Nations in the fall of 2007.
    8. The San Francisco Peace Treaty's omission of "China" as a participant was not an accident of history, but reflected the status that the Republic of China had failed to maintain its original position as the de jure [which?] and de facto government of the "whole China". By fleeing to Taiwan island in December 1949, the ROC government has then arguably become a government in exile. [61][62][63] Under international law, [which?] there are no actions which a government in exile can take in its current location of residence in order to be recognized as the local legitimate government. Hence, Taiwan's current international situation has arisen from the fact that the ROC is not completely internationally recognized as a legitimate state. (Note: the ROC government has limited recognition as the sole legitimate government of China (including Taiwan), but not as a government of Taiwan island.)

    Many political leaders who have maintained some form of One-China Policy have committed slips of the tongue in referring to Taiwan as a country or as the Republic of China. United States presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have been known to have referred to Taiwan as a country during their terms of office. Although near the end of his term as U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell said that Taiwan is not a state, he referred to Taiwan as the Republic of China twice during a testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 9 March 2001. [64] In the People's Republic of China Premier Zhu Rongji's farewell speech to the National People's Congress, Zhu accidentally referred to Mainland China and Taiwan as two countries. [65] Zhu says in his speech at MIT University on April 15, 1999, "These raw materials and the components are mainly imported from Japan, [Korea], Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, while the value-added parts in China is very, very insignificant. That is to say, Chinese exports to the United States actually represent a transfer of the exports to the United States by the above-mentioned countries and the regions that I mentioned.". [66] There are also those from the PRC who informally refer to Taiwan as a country. [67] South Africa delegates once referred to Taiwan as the "Republic of Taiwan" during Lee Teng-hui's term as President of the ROC. [68] In 2002, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, referred to Taiwan as a country. [69] Most recently, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated in a local Chinese newspaper in California in July 2005 that Taiwan is "a sovereign nation". The People's Republic of China discovered the statement about three months after it was made. [ citation needed ]

    In a controversial speech on 4 February 2006, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso called Taiwan a country with very high education levels because of previous Japanese colonial rule over the island. [70] One month later, he told a Japanese parliamentary committee that "[Taiwan's] democracy is considerably matured and liberal economics is deeply ingrained, so it is a law-abiding country. In various ways, it is a country that shares a sense of values with Japan." At the same time, he admitted that "I know there will be a problem with calling [Taiwan] a country". [71] Later, the Japanese Foreign Ministry tried to downplay or reinterpret his remarks. [ citation needed ]

    In February 2007, the Royal Grenada Police Band played the National Anthem of the Republic of China in an inauguration of the reconstructed St George's Queen's Park Stadium funded by the PRC. Grenada had broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan just two years prior in favor of the PRC. [72]

    When the Kuomintang visited Mainland China in 2005, the government-controlled PRC media called this event a "visit," and called the KMT one of "Taiwan's political parties" even though the Kuomintang's full name remains the "Chinese Nationalist Party." In mainland China, there is a legal party called the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang that is officially one of the nine "consultative parties," according to the PRC's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

    On the Foreign Missions page of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for China, the embassy of the People's Republic of China was referred to as the 'Republic of China'. [73]

    Taiwan was classified as a province of the People's Republic of China in the Apple Maps application in 2013 searches for "Taiwan" were changed automatically to "China Taiwan province" in Simplified Chinese, prompting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand a correction from Apple. [74]

    Until 1979, both sides intended to resolve the conflict militarily. [ citation needed ] Intermittent clashes occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with escalations comprising the First and Second Taiwan Strait crises. In 1979, with the U.S. change of diplomatic recognition to the PRC, the ROC lost its ally needed to "recover the mainland." Meanwhile, the PRC's desire to be accepted in the international community led it to promote peaceful unification under what would later be termed "one country, two systems", rather than to "liberate Taiwan" and to make Taiwan a Special Administrative Region.

    PRC's condition on military intervention Edit

    Notwithstanding, the PRC government has issued triggers for an immediate war with Taiwan, most notably via its controversial Anti-Secession Law of 2005. These conditions are:

    • if events occur leading to the "separation" of Taiwan from China in any name, or
    • if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan's "separation" from China, or
    • if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.

    It has been interpreted that these criteria encompass the scenario of Taiwan developing nuclear weapons (see main article Taiwan and weapons of mass destruction also Timeline of the Republic of China's nuclear program).

    The third condition has especially caused a stir in Taiwan as the term "indefinitely" is open to interpretation. [ citation needed ] It has also been viewed by some as meaning that preserving the ambiguous status quo is not acceptable to the PRC, although the PRC stated on many occasions that there is no explicit timetable for reunification.

    Concern over a formal declaration of de jure Taiwan independence is a strong impetus for the military buildup between Taiwan and mainland China. The former US Bush administration publicly declared that given the status quo, it would not aid Taiwan if it were to declare independence unilaterally. [75]

    According to the US Department of Defense report "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2011" conditions that mainland China has warned may cause the use of force have varied. They have included "a formal declaration of Taiwan independence undefined moves "toward independence" foreign intervention in Taiwan's internal affairs indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue on unification Taiwan's acquisition of nuclear weapons and, internal unrest on Taiwan. Article 8 of the March 2005 "Anti-Secession Law" states Beijing would resort to "non-peaceful means" if "secessionist forces . . . cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," if "major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession" occur, or if "possibilities for peaceful reunification" are exhausted". [76] [ check quotation syntax ]

    Balance of power Edit

    The possibility of war, the close geographic proximity of ROC-controlled Taiwan and PRC-controlled mainland China, and the resulting flare-ups that occur every few years, conspire to make this one of the most watched focal points in the Pacific. Both sides have chosen to have a strong naval presence. However, naval strategies between both powers greatly shifted in the 1980s and 1990s, while the ROC assumed a more defensive attitude by building and buying frigates and missile destroyers, and the PRC a more aggressive posture by developing long-range cruise missiles and supersonic surface-to-surface missiles.

    Although the People's Liberation Army Air Force is considered large, most of its fleet consists of older generation J-7 fighters (localized MiG-21s and Mig-21BIs), raising doubts over the PLAAF's ability to control Taiwan's airspace in the event of a conflict. Since mid-1990s PRC has been purchasing, and later localizing, SU-27 based fighters. These Russian fighters, as well as their Chinese J11A variants, are currently [ when? ] over 170 in number, and have increased the effectiveness of PLAAF's Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities. The introduction of 60 new-generation J10A fighters is anticipated to increase the PLAAF's firepower. PRC's acquisition of Russian Su30MKKs further enhanced the PLAAF's air-to-ground support ability. The ROC's air force, on the other hand, relies on Taiwan's fourth generation fighters, consisting of 150 US-built F-16 Fighting Falcons, approximately 60 French-built Mirage 2000-5s, and approximately 130 locally developed IDFs (Indigenous Defense Fighters). All of these ROC fighter jets are able to conduct BVR combat missions with BVR missiles, but the level of technology in mainland Chinese fighters is catching up. Also the United States Defense Intelligence Agency has reported that few of Taiwan's 400 total fighters are operationally capable. [77] [78]

    In 2003, the ROC purchased four missile destroyers—the former Kidd class, and expressed a strong interest in the Arleigh Burke class. But with the growth of the PRC navy and air force, some doubt that the ROC could withstand a determined invasion attempt from mainland China in the future. These concerns have led to a view in certain quarters that Taiwanese independence, if it is to be implemented, should be attempted as early as possible, while the ROC still has the capacity to defend itself in an all-out military conflict. Over the past three decades, estimates of how long the ROC can withstand a full-scale invasion from across the Strait without any outside help have decreased from three months to only six days. [79] Given such estimates, the US Navy has continued practicing "surging" its carrier groups, giving it the experience necessary to respond quickly to an attack on Taiwan. [80] The US also collects data on the PRC's military deployments, through the use of spy satellites, for example. [ citation needed ] For early surveillance may effectively identify PRC's massive military movement, which may imply PRC's preparation for a military assault against Taiwan.

    Naturally, war contingencies are not being planned in a vacuum. In 1979, the United States Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, a law generally interpreted as mandating U.S. defense of Taiwan in the event of an attack from the Chinese Mainland (the Act is applied to Taiwan and Penghu, but not to Kinmen or Matsu, which are usually considered to be part of Mainland China). The United States maintains the world's largest permanent fleet in the Pacific Region near Taiwan. The Seventh Fleet, operating primarily out of various bases in Japan, is a powerful naval contingent built upon the world's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Although the stated purpose of the fleet is not Taiwanese defense, it can be safely assumed from past actions, that is one of the reasons why the fleet is stationed in those waters. [ citation needed ] It is written into the strategy of the United States department of defense within this region that, "First, we are strengthening our military capacity to ensure the United States can successfully deter conflict and coercion and respond decisively when needed. Second, we are working together with our allies and partners from Northeast Asia to the Indian Ocean to build their capacity to address potential challenges in their waters and across the region. Third, we are leveraging military diplomacy to build greater transparency, reduce the risk of miscalculation or conflict, and promote shared maritime rules of the road." [81]

    Starting in 2000, Japan renewed its defense obligations with the US and embarked on a rearmament program, partly in response to fears that Taiwan might be invaded. Some analysts believed that the PRC could launch preemptive strikes on military bases in Japan to deter US and Japanese forces from coming to the ROC's aid. Japanese strategic planners also see an independent Taiwan as vital, not only because the ROC controls valuable shipping routes, but also because its capture by PRC would make Japan more vulnerable. During World War II, the US invaded the Philippines, but another viable target to enable direct attacks on Japan would have been Taiwan (then known as Formosa). However, critics of the preemptive strike theory assert that the PRC would be loath to give Japan and the US such an excuse to intervene. [82]

    The United States Department of Defense in a 2011 report stated that the primary mission of the PRC military is a possible military conflict with Taiwan, including also possible US military assistance. Although the risk of a crisis in the short-term is low, in the absence of new political developments, Taiwan will likely dominate future military modernization and planning. However, also other priorities are becoming increasingly prominent and possible due to increasing military resources. Many of mainland China's most advanced military systems are stationed in areas opposite Taiwan. The rapid military modernization is continually changing the military balance of power towards mainland China. [83]

    A 2008 report by the RAND Corporation analyzing a theoretical 2020 attack by mainland China on Taiwan suggested that the US would likely not be able to defend Taiwan. Cruise missile developments may enable China to partially or completely destroy or make inoperative US aircraft carriers and bases in the Western Pacific. New Chinese radars will likely be able to detect US stealth aircraft and China is acquiring stealthy and more effective aircraft. The reliability of US beyond-visual-range missiles as a mean to achieve air superiority is questionable and largely unproven. [84]

    In 2021 Admiral Phillip Davidson said in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that China could take military action on Taiwan some time in the next 6 years. [85] [86] A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry later responded stating that Davidson was trying to "hype up China's military threat." [87]

    Third Taiwan Strait crisis Edit

    In 1996, the PRC began conducting military exercises near Taiwan, and launched several ballistic missiles over the island. The saber-rattling was done in response to the possible re-election of then President Lee Teng-hui. [88] The United States, under President Clinton, sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region, reportedly sailing them into the Taiwan Strait. [89] The PRC, unable to track the ships' movements, and probably unwilling to escalate the conflict, quickly backed down. The event had little impact on the outcome of the election, since none of Lee's contestants were strong enough to defeat him, but it is widely believed that the PRC's aggressive acts, far from intimidating the Taiwanese population, gave Lee a boost that pushed his share of votes over 50 percent. [90] This was an aggressively serious escalation in response to the Taiwan Strait and the ongoing conflict between China and Taiwan. This hostile reaction by mainland China is the result of China implementing Putnam's Two-level game theory. This theory suggests that the chief negotiator of a state must balance and abide by both international and domestic interests, and in some cases must focus more on domestic interests. In the case of China, "a serious escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait and raised the specter of war—one that could conceivably draw in the United States. This turn of events is either the result of pressure by hawkish, hard-line soldiers on moderate, mild-mannered statesmen for a tougher, more aggressive response to Taiwan, or a strong consensus among both civilian and military leaders in the Politburo." [91]

    The possibility of war in the Taiwan Straits, even though quite low in the short-term, requires the PRC, ROC, and U.S. to remain wary and vigilant. The goal of the three parties at the moment seems to be, for the most part, to maintain the status quo.

    Judicial Edit

    On 24 October 2006, Dr. Roger C. S. Lin led a group of Taiwanese residents, including members of the Taiwan Nation Party, to file a Complaint for Declaratory Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. According to their lawyer, Mr. Charles Camp, "the Complaint asks the Court to declare whether the Taiwanese plaintiffs, including members of the Taiwan Nation Party, have certain rights under the United States Constitution and other US laws". [92] Their central argument is that, following Japanese renunciation of all rights and claims to Taiwan, Taiwan came under U.S. jurisdiction based on it being the principal occupying power as designated in the Treaty of Peace with Japan and remains so to this day. This case was opposed by the United States government.

    The District Court agreed with United States government on 18 March 2008 and ruled that the case presents a political question as such, the court concluded that it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and dismissed the complaint. [93] This decision has been appealed by plaintiffs [94] and the appeals court unanimously upheld the district court ruling. [95]

    The PRC and Taiwan have agreed to increase cooperation in the area of law enforcement. Mainland police began staffing a liaison office in Taipei in 2010. [96]

    Political Edit

    Although the situation is complex, most observers believe that it is stable with enough understandings and gentlemen's agreements to keep things from breaking out into open warfare. The current controversy is over the term one China, as the PRC insists that the ROC must recognize this term to begin negotiations. Although the Democratic Progressive Party has moderated its support for Taiwan independence, there is still insufficient support within that party for former President Chen Shui-bian to agree to one China. By contrast, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) appear willing to agree to some variation of one China, and observers believed the position of the PRC was designed to sideline Chen until the 2004 presidential election where it was hoped that someone who was more supportive of Chinese reunification would come to power. Partly to counter this, Chen Shui-bian announced in July 2002 that if the PRC does not respond to Taiwan's goodwill, Taiwan may "go on its own . road." [ citation needed ] What ROC president, Chen Shui-bian, means by this is that there are other ways of combatting China as a powerful hegemon. For example, "If Taiwan's Chen Shui-bian had declared legal independence by a popular referendum, scholars agree that is could have immediately triggered a crisis in China, due to its political sensitivity on the mainland". [97] Taiwan's forced establishment of sovereignty scares the PRC so when they implement laws, such as the Anti-secession law, it angers ROC's public opinion, and actually creates a 'rallying around the flag' effect [98] in support of the Taiwanese independence movement.

    With Chen's re-election in 2004, Beijing's prospects for a speedier resolution were dampened, though they seemed strengthened again following the Pan-Blue majority in the 2004 legislative elections. However, public opinion in Taiwan reacted unfavorably towards the anti-secession law passed by the PRC in March 2005. Following two high-profile visits by KMT and PFP party leaders to the PRC, the balance of public opinion appears to be ambiguous, with the Pan-Green Coalition gaining a majority in the 2005 National Assembly elections, but the Pan-Blue Coalition scoring a landslide victory in the 2005 municipal elections.

    Legislative elections were held in Taiwan on 12 January 2008. The results gave the Kuomintang and the Pan-Blue Coalition an absolute majority (86 of the 113 seats) in the legislature, handing a heavy defeat to President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party, which won the remaining 27 seats. The junior partner in the Pan-Green Coalition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, won no seats.

    The election for the 12th President of ROC was held on 22 March 2008. Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou won, with 58% of the vote, ending eight years of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leadership. Along with the 2008 legislative election, Ma's landslide victory brought the Kuomintang back to power in Taiwan. This new political situation has led to a decrease of tension between both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the increase of cross-strait relations, making a declaration of independence, or war, something unlikely.

    Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and its Chinese counterpart – the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) signed four agreements in Taipei on 4 November 2008. Both SEF and ARATS have agreed to address direct sea links, daily charter flights, direct postal service and food safety. [99]

    It has been reported that China has set a 2049 deadline for the reunification of Taiwan with Mainland China, which is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). [100] With CCP general secretary Xi Jinping saying that reunification was part of the Chinese Dream. [101]

    Public opinion Edit

    Public opinion in Taiwan regarding relations with the PRC is notoriously difficult to gauge, as poll results tend to be extremely sensitive to how the questions are phrased and what options are given, and there is a tendency by all political parties to spin the results to support their point of view. [102]

    According to a November 2005 poll from the Mainland Affairs Council, 37.7% of people living in the ROC favor maintaining the status quo until a decision can be made in the future, 18.4% favors maintaining the status quo indefinitely, 14% favors maintaining the status quo until eventual independence, 12% favors maintaining the status quo until eventual reunification, 10.3% favors independence as soon as possible, and 2.1% favors reunification as soon as possible. According to the same poll, 78.3% are opposed to the "One Country, Two Systems" model, which was used for Hong Kong and Macau, while 10.4% is in favor. [103] However, it is essential to consider current events or newly developing positions when determining public opinion in order to maintain accuracy and efficiency, especially when it comes to conducting foreign policy and determining Taiwan's political status and hopeful eventual independence. For example, "Large jumps in the proportion of independence supporters after China's missile test in mid-1996 (from 13% in February to 21% in March) and Lee Teng-hui's "special state–to-state" speech in mid-1999 (from 15% in March to 28% in August) suggest that the cross-Strait tension influenced the Taiwanese to become more independence-minded". [104] According to a June 2008 poll from a Taiwanese mainstream media TVBS, 58% of people living in Taiwan favor maintaining the status quo, 19% favors independence, and 8% favors unification. According to the same poll, if status quo is not an option and the ones who were surveyed must choose between "Independence" or "Unification", 65% are in favor of independence while 19% would opt for unification. The same poll also reveals that, in terms of self-identity, when the respondents are not told that a Taiwanese can also be a Chinese, 68% of the respondents identify themselves as "Taiwanese" while 18% would call themselves "Chinese". However, when the respondents are told that duo identity is an option, 45% of the respondents identify themselves as "Taiwanese only", 4% of the respondents call themselves "Chinese only" while 45% of the respondents call themselves "both Taiwanese as well as Chinese". Furthermore, when it comes to preference in which national identity to be used in international organizations, 54% of people in the survey indicated that they prefer "Taiwan" and only 25% of the people voted for "Chinese Taipei". [105]

    According to an October 2008 poll from the Mainland Affairs Council, on the question of Taiwan's status, 36.17% of respondents favor maintaining the status quo until a decision can be made in the future, 25.53% favors maintaining the status quo indefinitely, 12.49% favors maintaining the status quo until eventual independence, 4.44% favors maintaining the status quo until eventual reunification, 14.80% favors independence as soon as possible, and 1.76% favors reunification as soon as possible. In the same poll, on the question of the PRC government's attitude towards the ROC government, 64.85% of the respondents consider the PRC government hostile or very hostile, 24.89 consider the PRC government friendly or very friendly, while 10.27% did not express an opinion. On the question of the PRC government's attitude towards the people in Taiwan, 45.98% of the respondents consider the PRC government hostile or very hostile, 39.6% consider the PRC government friendly or very friendly, while 14.43% did not express an opinion. [106]

    May 2009 Taiwan's (Republic of China) Department of the Interior published a survey examining whether people in Taiwan see themselves as Taiwanese, Chinese or both. 64.6% see themselves as Taiwanese, 11.5% as Chinese, 18.1% as both and 5.8% were unsure. [107]

    According to a December 2009 poll from a Taiwanese mainstream media TVBS, if status quo is not an option and the ones who were surveyed must choose between "Independence" or "Unification", 68% are in favor of independence while 13% would opt for unification. [108]

    As of March 2012, a poll by the Global Views Monthly indicated that support for Taiwanese independence has risen. According to the survey 28.2 percent of respondents indicated that they support a formal declaration for Taiwan independence, a rise of 3.7 percent compared to a similar poll conducted earlier in 2012. Asked whether Taiwan would eventually declare itself a new and independent nation, 49.1 percent replied yes while 38 percent responded negatively, the Global Views Monthly said. Only 22.9 percent agreed that Taiwan should eventually unify with China, while 63.5 percent disagreed.

    A June 2013 poll conducted by DPP showed an overwhelming 77.6% consider themselves as Taiwanese. [109] On the independence-unification issue, the survey found that 25.9 percent said they support unification, 59 percent support independence and 10.3 percent prefer the "status quo." When asked whether Taiwan and China are parts of one country, the party said the survey found 78.4 percent disagree, while 15 percent agreed. As for whether Taiwan and China are two districts in one country, 70.6 percent disagree, while 22.8 percent agree, the survey showed. D)When asked which among four descriptions—"one country on each side," "a special state-to-state relationship," "one country, two areas," and "two sides are of one country"—they find the most acceptable, 54.9 percent said "one country on each side," 25.3 percent chose "a special state-to-state relationship," 9.8 percent said "one country, two areas" and 2.5 percent favor "two sides are of one country," the survey showed.

    Changing Taiwan's status with respect to the ROC constitution Edit

    From the perspective of the ROC constitution, which the mainstream political parties such as the KMT and DPP currently respect and recognize, changing the ROC's governing status or completely clarifying Taiwan's political status would at best require amending the ROC constitution. In other words, if reunification supporters wanted to reunify Taiwan with mainland China in such a way that would effectively abolish the ROC or affect the ROC's sovereignty, or if independence supporters wanted to abolish the ROC and establish a Republic of Taiwan, they would also need to amend or abolish the ROC constitution and redraft a new constitution. Passing an amendment requires an unusually broad political consensus, which includes approval from three-quarters of a quorum of members of the Legislative Yuan. This quorum requires at least three-quarters of all members of the Legislature. After passing the legislature, the amendments need ratification from at least fifty percent of all eligible voters of the ROC, irrespective of voter turnout.

    Given these harsh constitutional requirements, neither the Pan-Greens nor the Pan-Blues can unilaterally change Taiwan's political and legal status with respect to the ROC's constitution. However, extreme Taiwan independence supporters view the ROC's constitution as illegal and therefore believe that amendments to the ROC constitution are an invalid way to change Taiwan's political status.

    Political status vs. Taiwan issue or Mainland issue Edit

    Some scholarly sources as well as political entities like the PRC refer to Taiwan's controversial status as the "Taiwan question", "Taiwan issue", or "Taiwan problem". The ROC government does not like these terminologies, emphasizing that it should be called the "Mainland issue" or "Mainland question", because from the ROC's point of view, the PRC is making an issue out of or creating a problem out of Taiwan. Others use the term "Taiwan Strait Issue" because it implies nothing about sovereignty and because "Cross-Strait relations" is a term used by both the ROC and the PRC to describe their interactions. However, this term is also objectionable to some because it still implies that there is an issue, which they feel is created only by the PRC. [ citation needed ]

    De facto vs. de jure and whether ROC ceased to exist Edit

    The use of the terms de facto and de jure to describe Taiwan's as well as the Republic of China's status as a state is itself a contentious issue. This partially stems from the lack of precedents regarding derecognized, but still constitutionally functioning states (i.e., those meeting the four requirements of the Montevideo Convention). For instance, it is argued by Jacques deLisle that "An additional difficulty for Taiwan is the implicit fifth of the four criteria for statehood under international law: some assertion by the relevant authorities that the entity is, in fact, a state". [110] For example, is recognition as a state by the UN a decisive feature of statehood, given that such recognition, for the most part, correlates well with entities recognised as states by customary international law? If this "implict fifth" principle is accepted, then the Republic of China may have ceased to be a state post-1971 as a matter of international law ("de jure"), yet continued to otherwise function as the state that it previously was recognised as ("de facto"). [ citation needed ]

    From the 1990s onwards, media wire services sometimes describe Taiwan as having de facto independence, whereas the Republic of China has always considered itself as a continuously functioning de jure state. [ citation needed ]

    Taiwan as part of the Japanese empire

    In 1894 China and Japan went to war over their conflicting interests in Korea. Japan won the conflict handily. The Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895), which ended the war, contained a provision that ceded Taiwan and the P’eng-hu Islands to Japan in perpetuity. The Western powers regarded the treaty as legally binding, but China did not, seeing it as an agreement imposed on it under duress.

    When news of the treaty reached Taiwan, local leaders there proclaimed the Republic of Taiwan—Asia’s first republic—but its life was brief, lasting only about 10 days. Taiwan had no central government, was plagued by warlordism (causing many residents of the island to feel that Japanese rule would be an improvement), and had neither a recognized leader nor a real military. Moreover, Japan was determined to make Taiwan a colony, so it dealt firmly with opposing movements on the island.

    Japan’s military at first governed the island, but within three years those forces were seen as being no longer necessary. Taiwan, Tokyo’s first attempt at colonialism, was an experiment with which Japan had great success in establishing order, eradicating disease, building infrastructure, and creating a modern economy. Taiwan soon became the most-advanced place in East Asia outside Japan itself.

    Japan’s policy makers focused on agriculture first and improved rice production with new seeds and farming techniques. Rice and sugar were exported. Taiwan had about 30 miles (50 km) of railroads when Japan took control of the island, but within a decade it had increased the track length to some 300 miles (500 km), and much more construction was planned. Taiwan was soon electrified, which facilitated the growth of new industries such as textiles and chemicals. World War I was a boon for Taiwan’s economy, as new industries were developed and trade expanded. World War II also had a positive impact on the island’s economy.

    On the other hand, Japan ruled Taiwan strictly, using harsh punishment to enforce the law. Tokyo, initially at least, showed no interest in making Taiwan a democracy. Moreover, in governing Taiwan, Japan experienced a dilemma over whether to make the colony part of Japan or to allow it to be administratively separate and to some degree self-governing. Ultimately, Tokyo resisted assimilating Taiwan, although it did force the population there to learn Japanese and absorb Japanese culture. That strategy had advantages for the people of Taiwan, as it gained for them access to science and technology, but such advantages came at the cost of suppressing local culture and the Chinese language.

    In 1935, after Lin Hsien-t’ang (Lin Xiantang) of Taiwan’s Home Rule Association advocated the transfer of more political power to local officials, Japan announced the establishment of a somewhat autonomous local government. An election was held, and there was some evidence for the beginnings of democratic government in Taiwan. That movement was short-lived, however, as the militarists in Japan rose in power there the following year.

    In 1937, after Japan invaded China and touched off the second Sino-Japanese War, Taiwanese (Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan) were given the option of moving back to China, though few did. In the period before the war in the Pacific widened to include the United States and its allies in 1941, Japan came to regard Taiwan as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and an important stepping-stone in its military expansion. Japan established military bases there and used them as staging areas for invasions of the Philippines and other areas to the south.

    The Taiwanese worked in Japan’s defense and war-related industries in Taiwan and in other ways abetted Japan’s war efforts. Many Taiwanese served in the Japanese military, including units that fought in China. Taiwanese troops even participated in the atrocities against Chinese civilians at Nanjing (Nanking) and other places on the mainland. Of the Taiwanese who served in the Japanese military, more than 30,000 were killed in combat.

    Family structure

    A patriarchal and patrilineal extended family was the traditional pattern for the Chinese population on Taiwan. The aboriginal system was tribal. Both have been influenced by Taiwan’s modernization process, in which the family has been reduced in size and has become more urban and less cohesive. The Hakkas have maintained a more-traditional family structure, having been influenced less by the Japanese. Mainland Chinese have been more affixed to the traditional family, but they have also been more affected by modernization.

    By 1980 more than half the families in Taiwan were nuclear and only one-fourth of them extended. Family size continued to shrink as the proportion of the population that was urban grew and became more transient—factors that further weakened the traditional family structure. Also of note were the emergence of a generation gap and a large and increasing number of women entering the workforce, which helped to undermine the family-centred social system.

    Although there have been profound changes in the traditional family structure in Taiwan, Taiwan’s society is still more family-oriented than most. Filial piety is still practiced. The family still plays a role in marriages and in many social events, and it remains the focus of its members’ loyalty and identification. In addition, businesses continue to be largely family-owned and family-run.

    Taiwan Government, History, Population & Geography

    Environment—current issues: air pollution water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage contamination of drinking water supplies trade in endangered species low-level radioactive waste disposal

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: none of the selected agreements
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Population: 21,908,135 (July 1998 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 22% (male 2,543,524 female 2,367,077)
    15-64 years: 69% (male 7,730,185 female 7,472,525)
    65 years and over: 9% (male 963,797 female 831,027) (July 1998 est.)

    Population growth rate: 0.94% (1998 est.)

    Birth rate: 14.79 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

    Death rate: 5.42 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

    Net migration rate: -0.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.16 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 6.34 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 76.82 years
    male: 73.82 years
    female: 80.05 years (1998 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 1.77 children born/woman (1998 est.)

    noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Chinese

    Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, aborigine 2%

    Religions: mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%

    Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 86%
    male: 93%
    female: 79% (1980 est.)
    note: literacy for the total population increased to 92.65% in 1997

    Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Taiwan
    local long form: none
    local short form: T'ai-wan

    Government type: multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president

    National capital: Taipei

    Administrative divisions: since in the past the authorities claimed to be the government of all China, the central administrative divisions include the provinces of Fu-chien (some 20 offshore islands of Fujian Province including Quemoy and Matsu) and Taiwan (the island of Taiwan and the Pescadores islands) note—the more commonly referenced administrative divisions are those of Taiwan Province - 16 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities* (shih, singular and plural), and 2 special municipalities** (chuan-shih, singular and plural) Chang-hua, Chia-i, Chia-i*, Chi-lung*, Hsin-chu, Hsin-chu*, Hua-lien, I-lan, Kao-hsiung, Kao-hsiung**, Miao-li, Nan-t'ou, P'eng-hu, P'ing-tung, T'ai-chung, T'ai-chung*, T'ai-nan, T'ai-nan*, T'ai-pei, T'ai-pei**, T'ai-tung, T'ao-yuan, and Yun-lin the provincial capital is at Chung-hsing-hsin-ts'un
    note: Taiwan uses the Wade-Giles system for romanization

    National holiday: National Day, 10 October (1911) (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution)

    Constitution: 1 January 1947, amended in 1992, 1994, and 1997

    Legal system: based on civil law system accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

    Suffrage: 20 years of age universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President LEE Teng-hui (succeeded to the presidency following the death of President CHIANG Ching-kuo 13 January 1988, elected by the National Assembly 21 March 1990, elected by popular vote in the first-ever direct elections for president 23 March 1996) Vice President LIEN Chan (since 20 May 1996)
    head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) Vincent SIEW (since 1 September 1997) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) LIU Chao-shiuan (since 10 December 1997)
    cabinet: Executive Yuan appointed by the president
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms election last held 23 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000) premier appointed by the president vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
    election results: LEE Teng-hui elected president percent of vote—LEE Teng-hui 54%, PENG Ming-min 21%, LIN Yang-kang 15%, and CHEN Li-an 10%

    Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Yuan (164 seats𤹘 elected by popular vote, 36 indirectly elected on the basis of proportional representation members serve three-year terms note—in 1997, the National Assembly passed an amendment to increase the membership of the Legislative Yuan to 225 seats, of which 168 are to be elected by popular vote, 41 by proportional representation, and 16 from aboriginal and Chinese groups) and unicameral National Assembly (334 seats members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Legislative Yuan—last held 2 December 1995 (next to be held NA December 1998) National Assembly—last held 23 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
    election results: Legislative Yuan—percent of vote by party—KMT 46%, DPP 33%, CNP 13%, independents 8% seats by party—KMT 85, DPP 54, CNP 21, independents 4 note—since the election, there has been a change in the distribution of seats, the new distribution is as follows—KMT 81, DPP 46, CNP 19, independents 8, other 5, vacant 5 National Assembly—percent of vote by party—KMT 55%, DPP 30%, CNP 14%, other 1% seats by party—KMT 183, DPP 99, CNP 46, other 6

    Judicial branch: Judicial Yuan, justices appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly

    Political parties and leaders: Kuomintang (KMT, Nationalist Party), LEE Teng-hui, chairman Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), HSU Hsin-Liang, chairman Chinese New Party (CNP), leader NA Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP), HSU Shih-Kai other various parties

    Political pressure groups and leaders: Taiwan independence movement, various environmental groups
    note: debate on Taiwan independence has become acceptable within the mainstream of domestic politics on Taiwan political liberalization and the increased representation of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan's legislature have opened public debate on the island's national identity advocates of Taiwan independence, including within the DPP, oppose the ruling party's traditional stand that the island will eventually reunify with mainland China goals of the Taiwan independence movement include establishing a sovereign nation on Taiwan and entering the UN other organizations supporting Taiwan independence include the World United Formosans for Independence and the Organization for Taiwan Nation Building

    International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, BCIE, ICC, IOC, WCL, WTrO (applicant)

    Diplomatic representation in the US: none unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through a private instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities

    Diplomatic representation from the US: none unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through a private institution, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia (telephone: [1] (703) 525-8474 and FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385) and offices in Taipei at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, telephone [886] (22) 709-2000, FAX [886] (22) 702-7675, and in Kao-hsiung at #2 Chung Cheng 3d Road, telephone [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, FAX [886] (7) 223-8237, and the American Trade Center at Room 3207 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei 10548, telephone [886] (22) 720-1550, FAX [886] 757-7162

    Flag description: red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays

    Economy—overview: Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by government authorities and partial government ownership of some large banks and industrial firms. Spillover from the Asian financial crisis hit Taiwan in the fourth quarter of 1997, wreaking havoc on the stock and currency markets. While the economy remains sound (the government forecasts 6% GDP growth for 1998), the New Taiwan Dollar depreciated 20% in 1997. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8.5% a year during the past three decades. Export growth has been even faster and has provided the impetus for industrialization. Inflation and unemployment are low. Agriculture contributes only 3% to GDP, down from 35% in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved off-shore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The tightening of labor markets has led to an influx of foreign workers, both legal and illegal.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$308 billion (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 6.8% (1997 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$14,200 (1997 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3.3%
    industry: 35.7%
    services: 61% (1996)

    Inflation rate—consumer price index: 0.9% (1997)

    Labor force:
    total: 9.4 million (1997)
    by occupation: services 52%, industry 38%, agriculture 10% (1996 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 2.7% (1997)

    revenues: $40 billion
    expenditures: $55 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

    Industries: electronics, textiles, chemicals, clothing, food processing, plywood, sugar milling, cement, shipbuilding, petroleum refining

    Industrial production growth rate: 7% (1997)

    Electricity—capacity: 23.763 million kW (1996)

    Electricity—production: 124.973 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—consumption per capita: 5,500 kWh (1995)

    Agriculture—products: rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, fruit, tea pigs, poultry, beef, milk fish

    total value: $122.1 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
    commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 21.7%, electronic products 14.8%, information/communications 11.8%, textile products 11.6% (1997)
    partners: US 24.2%, Hong Kong 23.5%, Europe 15.1%, Japan 9.6% (1997)

    total value: $114.4 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
    commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 16.5%, electronic products 16.3%, chemicals 10.0%, precision instrument 5.6% (1997)
    partners: Japan 25.4%, US 20.3%, Europe 18.9%, Hong Kong 1.7% (1997)

    Debt—external: $80 million (1997 est.)

    Currency: 1 New Taiwan dollar (NT$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: New Taiwan dollars per US$1㬜.45 (yearend 1997), 27.5 (1996), 27.4 (1995), 26.2 (1994), 26.6 (1993), 25.4 (1992)

    Fiscal year: 1 July㬚 June

    Telephones: 10,010,614 (1996)

    Telephone system:
    domestic: extensive microwave radio relay trunk system on east and west coasts
    international: satellite earth stationsר Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) submarine cables to Japan (Okinawa), Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 91, FM 23, shortwave 0

    Television broadcast stations: 15 (repeaters 13)

    Televisions: 10.8 million (1996 est.)

    total: 4,600 km (498 km electrified) noteק,108 km belongs to the Taiwan Railway Administration and the remaining 3,492 km is dedicated to industrial use
    narrow gauge: 4,600 km 1.067-m

    total: 19,701 km
    paved: 17,238 km (including 447 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 2,463 km (1996 est.)

    Pipelines: petroleum products 615 km natural gas 97 km

    Ports and harbors: Chi-lung (Keelung), Hua-lien, Kao-hsiung, Su-ao, T'ai-chung

    Merchant marine:
    total: 193 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,621,906 GRT/8,583,808 DWT
    ships by type: bulk 49, cargo 30, combination bulk 2, container 81, oil tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 11, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2 (1997 est.)

    Airports: 40 (1997 est.)

    Airports—with paved runways:
    total: 36
    over 3,047 m: 8
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 6
    under 914 m: 5 (1997 est.)

    Airports—with unpaved runways:
    total: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

    Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

    Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Coastal Patrol and Defense Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces

    Military manpower—military age: 19 years of age

    Military manpower—availability:
    males age 15-49: 6,476,878 (1998 est.)

    Military manpower—fit for military service:
    males: 4,978,865 (1998 est.)

    Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
    males: 206,975 (1998 est.)

    Military expenditures—dollar figure: $11.5 billion (FY96/97)

    Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 3.6% (FY96/97)

    Disputes—international: involved in complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does China

    Illicit drugs: considered an important heroin transit point major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamines and heroin

    Watch the video: Mapping Taiwans History (January 2022).

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