Taiwan

Taiwan (traditional Chinese: 臺灣/台灣; simplified Chinese: 台湾; pinyin: Táiwān), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (13,826 sq mi), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two-thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipei is the capital as well as the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Other major cities include New Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan. With 23.57 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated countries. Austronesian-speaking ancestors of Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island around 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, partial Dutch colonization encouraged large-scale Han Chinese immigration to the island. Ming-loyalist Koxinga expelled the Dutch in 1662 and established the Kingdom of Tungning until annexation by the Qing dynasty in 1683. After losing the First Sino-Japanese War, Qing ceded Taiwan to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown and succeeded the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Allies following the surrender of Japan in 1945. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War resulted in the ROC's loss of mainland China to forces of the Chinese Communist Party and retreat to Taiwan in 1949. Its effective jurisdiction has since been limited to Taiwan and numerous smaller islands. In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialisation called the "Taiwan Miracle". In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ROC transitioned from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system. Taiwan's export-oriented industrial economy is the 21st-largest in the world by nominal GDP, and 20th-largest by PPP measures, with major contributions from steel, machinery, electronics and chemicals manufacturing. Taiwan is a developed country, ranking 15th in GDP per capita. It is ranked highly in terms of political and civil liberties, education, health care and human development.The political status of Taiwan is contentious. The ROC no longer represents China as a member of the United Nations, after UN members voted in 1971 to recognize the PRC instead, which claims Taiwan. Meanwhile, the ROC has retained its claims to mainland territories, although it has downplayed this point since democratization in the 1990s. Taiwan maintains official diplomatic relations with 14 out of 193 UN member states and the Holy See. Since the PRC refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the ROC, many of them maintain unofficial diplomatic ties with Taiwan through representative offices and institutions that function as de facto embassies and consulates. International organisations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only on a non-state basis under various names. Domestically, the major political contention is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unification and promoting a pan-Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring to independence and promoting Taiwanese identity, although both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.


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