Taiwan

 

In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan reverted to Chinese 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 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist 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 the relationship between Taiwan and China – specifically the question of eventual unification – as well as domestic political and economic reform.

 

Geography:
Location: Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the south-eastern coast of China
Geographic coordinates: 23 30 N, 121 00 E
People:
Population: 23,234,936 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.6% (male 1,875,359/female 1,732,007)

15-64 years: 73.4% (male 8,538,881/female 8,406,716)

65 years and over: 10.9% (male 1,198,591/female 1,320,225) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: T’ai-wan

former: Formosa

Government type: multiparty democracy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 16.433 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 27.84 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 40 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 37

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 2 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command
Military service age and obligation: 19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; service obligation – 2 years; women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; reserve obligation to age 30 (Army); the Ministry of Defence is in the process of implementing a voluntary enlistment system over the period 2010-2015, although non-volunteers will still be required to perform alternative service or go through 4 months of military training (2010)

Economy:

Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by the authorities. In keeping with this trend, some large, state-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The island runs a large trade surplus, and its foreign reserves are among the worlds largest. Despite restrictions on cross-strait links, China has overtaken the US to become Taiwan’s largest export market and its second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island’s number one destination for foreign direct investment. Strong trade performance in 2007 pushed Taiwan’s GDP growth rate above 5%, and unemployment is below 4%.

Transnational Issues:

Involved in complex dispute with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei over the Spratly Islands; 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