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  • Introduction :: TAIWAN

  • In 1895, military defeat forced China's Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist control after World War II. Following the communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Beginning in the 1950s, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. This process expanded rapidly in the 1980s. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist (Kuomintang or KMT) to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be management of sensitive relations between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of Taiwan's eventual status - as well as domestic priorities for economic reform and growth.
  • Geography :: TAIWAN

  • Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China
    23 30 N, 121 00 E
    Southeast Asia
    total: 35,980 sq km
    land: 32,260 sq km
    water: 3,720 sq km
    note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands
    slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined
    0 km
    1,566.3 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year
    eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
    lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
    highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m
    small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, asbestos, arable land
    agricultural land: 22.7%
    arable land 16.9%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture NA
    forest: NA
    other: 77.3% (2011 est.)
    67 cu km (2011)
    earthquakes; typhoons
    volcanism: Kueishantao Island (elev. 401 m), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries
    air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
    party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
    strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait
  • People and Society :: TAIWAN

  • noun: Taiwan (singular and plural)
    note: example - he or she is from Taiwan; they are from Taiwan
    adjective: Taiwan (or Taiwanese)
    Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%
    Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
    mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
    23,359,928 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 14% (male 1,683,381/female 1,575,789)
    15-24 years: 13.4% (male 1,613,197/female 1,526,344)
    25-54 years: 47.4% (male 5,539,606/female 5,539,654)
    55-64 years: 13.2% (male 1,506,657/female 1,571,208)
    65 years and over: 12% (male 1,301,420/female 1,502,672) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 39.2 years
    male: 38.5 years
    female: 39.9 years (2014 est.)
    0.25% (2014 est.)
    8.55 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    6.97 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    TAIPEI (capital) 2.667 million; Kaohsiung 1.523 million; Taichung 1.209 million; Tainan 810,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    total: 4.49 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 79.84 years
    male: 76.72 years
    female: 83.2 years (2014 est.)
    1.11 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 98.5%
    male: 99.7%
    female: 97.3% (2014 est.)
  • Government :: TAIWAN

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Taiwan
    local long form: none
    local short form: Taiwan
    former: Formosa
    multiparty democracy
    name: Taipei
    geographic coordinates: 25 02 N, 121 31 E
    time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China's Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 13 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 3 municipalities (shih, singular and plural), and 6 special municipalities (chih-hsia-shih, singular and plural)
    counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taitung, Yilan, Yunlin
    municipalities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung
    special municipalities: Kaohsiung (city), New Taipei (city), Taichung (city), Tainan (city), Taipei (city), Taoyuan (city)
    note: Taiwan uses a variety of romanization systems; while a modified Wade-Giles system still dominates, the city of Taipei has adopted a Pinyin romanization for street and place names within its boundaries; other local authorities use different romanization systems; names for administrative divisions that follow are taken from the Taiwan Yearbook 2007 published by the Government Information Office in Taipei
    Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution), 10 October (1911)
    previous 1912, 1931; latest adopted 25 December 1946, promulgated 1 January 1947, effective 25 December 1947; revised several times, last in 2005 (2013)
    civil law system
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    20 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President MA Ying-jeou (since 20 May 2008); Vice President WU Den-yih (since 20 May 2012)
    head of government: Premier MAO Chi-kuo (President of the Executive Yuan) (since 8 December 2014); Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) (CHANG San-cheng); note - Premier JIANG Yi-huah (since 18 February 2013) resigned on 29 November 2014
    cabinet: Executive Yuan - ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 14 January 2012 (next to be held in January 2016); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
    election results: MA Ying-jeou elected president; percent of vote - MA Ying-jeou 51.6%, TSAI Ing-wen 45.6%, James SOONG Chu-ye 2.8%
    description: unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats; 73 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 34 directly elected in a single islandwide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat aboriginal constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: Legislative Yuan - last held on 14 January 2012 (next to be held in January 2016)
    election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - KMT 44.6%, DPP 34.6%, TSU 9.0%, PFP 5.5%, others 6.3%; seats by party - KMT 64, DPP 40, PFP 3, TSU 3, NPSU 2, independent 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and approximately 100 judges organized into 8 civil and 12 criminal divisions, each with a division chief justice and 4 associate justices); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 13 justices)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices appointed by the president; Constitutional Court justices appointed by the president with approval of the Legislative Yuan; Supreme Court justices appointed for life; Constitutional Court justices appointed for 8-year terms with half the membership renewed every 4 years
    subordinate courts: high courts; district courts; hierarchy of administrative courts
    Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [TSAI Ing-wen]
    Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [Eric Chu Li-lun]
    New Party [YOK Mu-ming]
    Non-Partisan Solidarity Union or NPSU [LIN Pin-kuan]
    People First Party or PFP [James SOONG Chu-ye]
    Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU [HUANG Kun-huei]
    other: environmental groups; independence movement; various business groups
    note: debate on Taiwan independence has become acceptable within the mainstream of domestic politics on Taiwan; public opinion polls consistently show a substantial majority of Taiwan people supports maintaining Taiwan's status quo for the foreseeable future; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose the stand that the island will eventually unify with mainland China; advocates of eventual unification predicate their goal on the democratic transformation of the mainland
    ADB, APEC, BCIE, ICC (national committees), IOC, ITUC (NGOs), SICA (observer), WTO
    none; commercial and cultural relations with the people in the United States are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts
    representative: SHEN Lyu-shin (since 1 April 2014)
    office: 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
    telephone: [1] 202 895-1800
    Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (branch offices): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hagatna (Guam), Houston, Honolulu, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
    none; commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts
    telephone: [1] [886] (02) 2162-2000
    FAX: [1] [886] (02) 2162-2251
    other offices: Kaohsiung (Branch Office)
    red field with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays; the blue and white design of the canton (symbolizing the sun of progress) dates to 1895; it was later adopted as the flag of the Kuomintang Party; blue signifies liberty, justice, and democracy; red stands for fraternity, sacrifice, and nationalism, white represents equality, frankness, and the people's livelihood; the 12 rays of the sun are those of the months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours (each ray equals two hours)
    white, 12-rayed sun on blue field; national colors: blue, white, red
    name: "Zhonghua Minguo guoge" (National Anthem of the Republic of China)
    lyrics/music: HU Han-min, TAI Chi-t'ao, and LIAO Chung-k'ai/CHENG Mao-Yun
    note: adopted 1930; also the song of the Kuomintang Party; it is informally known as "San Min Chu I" or "San Min Zhu Yi" (Three Principles of the People); because of political pressure from China, "Guo Qi Ge" (National Banner Song) is used at international events rather than the official anthem of Taiwan; the "National Banner Song" has gained popularity in Taiwan and is commonly used during flag raisings
  • Economy :: TAIWAN

  • Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. Exports, led by electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports exposes the economy to fluctuations in world demand. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are other major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, and following the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China in June 2010, Taiwan in July 2013 signed a free trade deal with New Zealand—Taipei’s first-ever with a country with which it does not maintain diplomatic relations—and in November inked a trade pact with Singapore. However, follow-on components of ECFA, including a signed agreement on trade in services, negotiations on trade in goods, and dispute resolution—have stalled. In early 2014, the government bowed to public demand for a new law governing the oversight of cross-Strait agreements, before any additional deals with China are implemented; the legislature has yet to vote on such legislation, leaving the future of ECFA up in the air as President MA enters his final full year in office. MA has portrayed ECFA as Taiwan’s key to greater participation in East Asia’s free trade networks. Taiwan's total fertility rate of just under one child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 expected to account for 20% of the island's total population by 2025. The island runs a trade surplus, largely because of its surplus with China, and its foreign reserves are the world's fifth largest, behind those of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. In 2006 China overtook the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taiwan since 2009 has gradually loosened rules governing Chinese investment on the island, and has also secured greater market access for its investors in the mainland. In August 2012, the Taiwan Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding on cross-Strait currency settlement with its Chinese counterpart. The MOU allows for the direct settlement of Chinese RMB and the New Taiwan dollar across the Strait, which has helped Taiwan develop into a local RMB hub. Closer economic links with the mainland bring greater opportunities for the Taiwan economy, but also pose new challenges as the island becomes more economically dependent on China at a time when political differences remain unresolved. During 2014, the press paid increasing attention to domestic economic issues while pushing aside the debates over trade liberalization that were a hallmark of MA’s tenure. The media focused on the divide between Taiwan’s “haves” and “have nots,” providing extensive coverage of public frustration with stagnant wages, skyrocketing housing prices, and the difficulty of finding decent entry-level jobs.
    $1.022 trillion (2014 est.)
    $987.2 billion (2013 est.)
    $967 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $529.5 billion (2014 est.)
    3.7% (2014 est.)
    2.2% (2013 est.)
    2.1% (2012 est.)
    $43,600 (2014 est.)
    $41,500 (2013 est.)
    $40,200 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 33
    31.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    30.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    30.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 53.2%
    government consumption: 14.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.6%
    investment in inventories: 0.3%
    exports of goods and services: 70%
    imports of goods and services: -59.5%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 1.9%
    industry: 34.1%
    services: 64.1% (2014 est.)
    rice, vegetables, fruit, tea, flowers; pigs, poultry; fish
    electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals
    5.6% (2014 est.)
    11.54 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 5%
    industry: 36.1%
    services: 58.9% (2014 est.)
    4% (2014 est.)
    4.2% (2013 est.)
    1.5% (2012 est.)
    lowest 10%: 6.4%
    highest 10%: 40.3% (2010)
    33.8 (2012)
    32.6 (2000)
    revenues: $85.12 billion
    expenditures: $91.72 billion (2014 est.)
    16.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -1.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    33.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    33.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
    note: data for central government
    calendar year
    1.2% (2014 est.)
    0.8% (2013 est.)
    1.88% (31 March 2015)
    1.88% (31 December 2011)
    2.88% (31 January 2015 est.)
    2.88% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $483.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $449.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $1.249 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.186 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $786.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $748.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $831.9 billion (31 December 2012)
    $784.1 billion (31 December 2011)
    $738.3 billion (31 December 2010)
    $52.65 billion (2014 est.)
    $44.02 billion (2013 est.)
    $318 billion (2014 est.)
    $304.6 billion (2013 est.)
    semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers
    China 27.1%, Hong Kong 13.2%, US 10.3%, Japan 6.4%, Singapore 4.4% (2012 est.)
    $277.5 billion (2014 est.)
    $267.4 billion (2013 est.)
    oil/petroleum, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles
    Japan 17.6%, China 16.1%, US 9.5% (2012 est.)
    $429.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $421.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $191.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $170.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $66.78 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $65.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $259.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $246.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar -
    31.72 (2014 est.)
    29.95 (2013 est.)
    29.62 (2012 est.)
    29.47 (2011 est.)
    31.65 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: TAIWAN

  • 235 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    224.8 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    48.48 million kW (2014 est.)
    72.5% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    12.5% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    6.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    8.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    1,726 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    885,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    2.38 million bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    920,200 bbl/day (2011 est.)
    974,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    255,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
    304,700 bbl/day (2011 est.)
    379.4 million cu m (2014 est.)
    16.21 billion cu m (2014 est.)
    0 cu m (2014 est.)
    17.69 billion cu m (2014 est.)
    6.229 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    307.1 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: TAIWAN

  • 15.998 million (2012)
    29.455 million (2012)
    general assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need
    domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized
    international: country code - 886; roughly 15 submarine fiber cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2011)
    5 nationwide television networks operating roughly 75 TV stations; about 85% of households utilize multi-channel cable TV; national and regional radio networks with about 170 radio stations (2008)
    AM 21, FM 143, shortwave 1 (2008)
    76 (5 television networks with 46 digital and 30 analog stations) (2007)
    6.272 million (2012)
    16.147 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: TAIWAN

  • 37 (2013)
    total: 35
    over 3,047 m: 8
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
    914 to 1,523 m: 8
    under 914 m: 2 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    31 (2013)
    condensate 25 km; gas 802 km; oil 241 km (2013)
    total: 1,580 km
    standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (345 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 1,085 km 1.067-m gauge (685 km electrified); 150 km 0.762-m gauge
    note: the 0.762 gauge track belongs to three entities, the Forestry Bureau, Taiwan Cement, and TaiPower (2009)
    total: 41,475 km
    paved: 41,033 km (includes 720 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 442 km (2009)
    total: 112
    by type: bulk carrier 35, cargo 20, chemical tanker 1, container 31, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 2
    foreign-owned: 3 (France 2, Vietnam 1)
    registered in other countries: 579 (Argentina 2, Cambodia 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 25, Indonesia 1, Italy 10, Kiribati 2, Liberia 94, Marshall Islands 8, Panama 328, Philippines 1, Sierra Leone 7, Singapore 77, South Korea 1, Thailand 1, UK 11, Vanuatu 1, unknown 8) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Chilung (Keelung), Kaohsiung, Hualian, Taichung
    container port(s) (TEUs): Chilung (Keelung) (1,749,388), Kaohsiung (9,363,289), Taichung (1,383,578)
    LNG terminal (import): Yung An (Kaohsiung), Taichung
  • Military :: TAIWAN

  • Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command
    18-35 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation is 1 year; women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; reserve obligation to age 36 (Army); the Ministry of Defense is in the process of implementing a voluntary enlistment system over the period 2010-2015, although nonvolunteers will still be required to perform alternative service or go through 4 months of military training (2012)
    males age 16-49: 6,183,567
    females age 16-49: 6,006,676 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 5,074,173
    females age 16-49: 4,951,088 (2010 est.)
    male: 166,190
    female: 155,306 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: TAIWAN

  • involved in complex dispute with Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands, and with China and the Philippines over Scarborough Reef; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Paracel Islands are occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; in 2003, China and Taiwan became more vocal in rejecting both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea where all parties engage in hydrocarbon prospecting
    regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and precursor chemicals; transshipment point for drugs to Japan; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; rising problems with use of ketamine and club drugs