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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

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Map of Taiwan

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Taiwan
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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 native 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.

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   Geography    Taiwan
Location:
Definition Field Listing
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
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
23 30 N, 121 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 35,980 sq km
land: 32,260 sq km
water: 3,720 sq km
note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
1,566.3 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 75% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
earthquakes and typhoons
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait

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   People    Taiwan
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22,749,838 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 19.9% (male 2,359,467; female 2,167,438)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 8,149,231; female 7,924,774)
65 years and over: 9.4% (male 1,091,473; female 1,057,455) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 33.7 years
male: 33.3 years
female: 34.1 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.64% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.7 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.29 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 77.06 years
male: 74.31 years
female: 80.08 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.57 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Chinese/Taiwanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese/Taiwanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, aborigine 2%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.1% (2003)

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   Government    Taiwan
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Taiwan
local long form: none
local short form: T'ai-wan
former: Formosa
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly-elected president and unicameral legislature
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Taipei
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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); Taiwan is further subdivided into 16 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities (shih, singular and plural), and 2 special municipalities (chuan-shih, singular and plural); the provincial capital is at Chung-hsing-hsin-ts'un
: counties: Chang-hua, Chia-i, Hsin-chu, Hua-lien, I-lan, Kao-hsiung, Miao-li, Nan-t'ou, P'eng-hu, P'ing-tung, T'ai-chung, T'ai-nan, T'ai-pei, T'ai-tung, T'ao-yuan, and Yun-lin
: municipalities: Chia-i, Chi-lung, Hsin-chu, T'ai-chung, T'ai-nan
: special municipalities: Kao-hsiung, T'ai-pei
note: Taiwan uses the Wade-Giles system for romanization
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution), 10 October (1911)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
25 December 1946, amended in 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, and 2000
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President CHEN Shui-bian (since 20 March 2004) and Vice President Annette LU (LU Hsiu-lien) (since 20 March 2004)
head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) YU Shyi-kun (since 1 February 2002) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) LIN Hsin-yi (since 1 February 2002)
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 20 March 2004 (next to be held in March 2008); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
election results: CHEN Shui-bian elected president; percent of vote - CHEN Shui-bian (DPP) 50.1%, LIEN Chan (KMT) 49.9%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Legislative Yuan (225 seats - 168 elected by popular vote, 41 elected on the basis of the proportion of islandwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the basis of the proportion of island-wide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected by popular vote among the aboriginal populations; members serve three-year terms) and unicameral National Assembly (300 seat nonstanding body; delegates nominated by parties and elected by proportional representation within three months of a Legislative Yuan call to amend the Constitution, impeach the president, or change national borders)
note: the number of seats in the legislature will be reduced from 225 to 113 beginning with the election in 2007
elections: Legislative Yuan - last held 8 December 2001 (next to be held in December 2004)
election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - DPP 39%, KMT 30%, PFP 20%, TSU 6%, independents and other parties 5%; seats by party (2003) - DPP 88, KMT 66, PFP 46, TSU 12, independents and other parties 13
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Judicial Yuan (justices appointed by the president with consent of the Legislative Yuan)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [CHEN Shui-bian, chairman]; Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [LIEN Chan, chairman]; People First Party or PFP [James SOONG (SOONG Chu-yu), chairman]; Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU [HUANG Chu-wen, chairman]; other minor parties including the Chinese New Party or CNP
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Taiwan independence movement, various business and 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 opposition parties in Taiwan's legislature have opened public debate on the island's national identity; a broad popular consensus has developed that Taiwan currently enjoys de facto independence and - whatever the ultimate outcome regarding reunification or independence - that Taiwan's people must have the deciding voice; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose the stand that the island will eventually unify 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:
Definition Field Listing
APEC, AsDB, BCIE, ICC, ICFTU, IOC, WCL, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality - the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - which has offices in the US and Taiwan; US office located at 1700 N. Moore St., Suite 1700, Arlington, VA 22209-1996, telephone: [1] (703) 525-8474, FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385); Taiwan offices located at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan, telephone: [886] (2) 2709-2000, FAX: [886] (2) 2702-7675; #2 Chung Cheng 3rd Road, 5th Floor, Kao-hsiung, Taiwan, telephone: [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, FAX: [886] (7) 223-8237; and the American Trade Center, Room 3208 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei, Taiwan 10548, telephone: [886] (2) 2720-1550, FAX: [886] (2) 2757-7162
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays

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   Economy    Taiwan
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by government authorities. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial, and foreign reserves are the world's third largest. Agriculture contributes 2% to GDP, down from 32% in 1952. While Taiwan is a major investor throughout Southeast Asia, China has become the largest destination for investment and has overtaken the US to become Taiwan's largest export market. Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths, Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The global economic downturn, combined with problems in policy coordination by the administration and bad debts in the banking system, pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001, the first year of negative growth ever recorded. Unemployment also reached record levels. Output recovered moderately in 2002 in the face of continued global slowdown, fragile consumer confidence, and bad bank loans. Growing economic ties with China are a dominant long-term factor. Exports to China - mainly parts and equipment for the assembly of goods for export to developed countries - drove Taiwan's economic recovery in 2002. Although the SARS epidemic, Typhoon Maemi, corporate scandals, and a drop in consumer spending caused GDP growth to contract to 3.2% in 2003, increasingly strong export performance kept Taiwan's economy on track, and the government expects Taiwan's economy to grow 4.1% in 2004.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $528.6 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.2% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $23,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 30.3%
services: 67.9% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.5% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
1% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 6.7%
highest 10%: 41.1% (2002 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-0.3% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.08 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 7.5%, industry 35%, services 57% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $56.58 billion
expenditures: $69.21 billion, including capital expenditures of $14.4 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
30.5% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk, fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.4% (2003)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
151.1 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
140.5 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,100 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
988,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
750 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.64 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
410 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.3 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38.23 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$28.57 billion (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$143 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
computer products and electrical equipment, metals, textiles, plastics and rubber products, chemicals (2002)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 25.3%, US 20.5%, Japan 9.2% (2002 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$119.6 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and electrical equipment 44.5%, minerals, precision instruments (2002)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 24.2%, US 16.1%, China 7.1%, South Korea 6.9% (2002 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$207.1 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$53.44 billion (2003)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
new Taiwan dollar (TWD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
TWD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
new Taiwan dollars per US dollar - 34.418 (2003), 34.575 (2002), 33.8 (2001), 33.09 (2000), 31.6 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June (up to FY98/99); 1 July 1999 - 31 December 2000 for FY00; calendar year (after FY00)

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   Communications    Taiwan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.355 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25,089,600 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need
domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized
international: country code - 886; satellite earth stations - 2 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 (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 218, FM 333, shortwave 50 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
29 (plus two repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.tw
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,777,085 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.83 million (2003)

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   Transportation    Taiwan
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,544 km
narrow gauge: 1,108 km 1.067-m gauge (519 km electrified)
note: 1,400 km .762-m gauge (belonging to the Taiwan Sugar Corporation and to the Taiwan Forestry Bureau used to haul products and limited numbers of passengers (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 35,931 km
paved: 31,583 km (including 608 km of expressways)
unpaved: 4,348 km (2000)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
condensate 25 km; gas 435 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Chi-lung (Keelung), Hua-lien, Kao-hsiung, Su-ao, T'ai-chung
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 130 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 3,417,768 GRT/5,617,318 DWT
by type: bulk 36, cargo 23, chemical tanker 2, combination bulk 3, container 37, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: Cuba 1, Hong Kong 4
registered in other countries: 457 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
40 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 37
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
3 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Taiwan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
19 years of age; 22-month active service obligation (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 6,556,484 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 4,992,737 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 182,677 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$7,611.7 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.7% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Taiwan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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 asserted claims to the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Tai) with increased media coverage and protest actions
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
regional transit point for heroin and methamphetamine; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; renewal of domestic methamphetamine production is a problem

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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