[Country map of Taiwan]



Location: 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

Map references: Southeast Asia

total area: 35,980 sq km
land area: 32,260 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland and Delaware combined
note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: 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; Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai) claimed by China and Taiwan

Climate: tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year

Terrain: eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west

Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos

Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 5%
forest and woodland: 55%
other: 15%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; air pollution; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species
natural hazards: earthquakes and typhoons
international agreements: signed, but not ratified - Marine Life Conservation


Population: 21,500,583 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 24% (female 2,543,134; male 2,665,878)
15-64 years: 68% (female 7,191,964; male 7,482,814)
65 years and over: 8% (female 734,535; male 882,258) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.93% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 15.33 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.71 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.47 years
male: 72.17 years
female: 78.93 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese

Ethnic divisions: Taiwanese 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

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1980)
total population: 86%
male: 93%
female: 79%

Labor force: 7.9 million
by occupation: industry and commerce 53%, services 22%, agriculture 15.6%, civil administration 7% (1989)


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

Digraph: TW

Type: multiparty democratic regime; opposition political parties legalized in March, 1989

Capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions: some of the ruling party in Taipei claim to be the government of all China; in keeping with that claim, the central administrative divisions include 2 provinces (sheng, singular and plural) and 2 municipalities* (shih, singular and plural) - Fu-chien (some 20 offshore islands of Fujian Province including Quemoy and Matsu), Kao-hsiung*, T'ai-pei*, and Taiwan (the island of Taiwan and the Pescadores islands); 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 Revolution)

Constitution: 1 January 1947, amended in 1992, presently undergoing revision

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 LI Teng-hui (since 13 January 1988); Vice President LI Yuan-zu (since 20 May 1990)
head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) LIEN Chan (since 23 February 1993); Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) HSU Li-teh (since 23 February 1993); presidential election last held 21 March 1990 (next election will probably be a direct popular election and will be held NA March 1996); results - President LI Teng-hui was reelected by the National Assembly; vice presidential election last held 21 March 1990; results - LI Yuan-zu was elected by the National Assembly
cabinet: Executive Yuan; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Yuan and unicameral National Assembly
Legislative Yuan: elections last held 19 December 1992 (next to be held NA December 1995); results - KMT 60%, DPP 31%, independents 9%; seats - (304 total, 161 elected) KMT 96, DPP 50, independents 15
National Assembly: first National Assembly elected in November 1946 with a supplementary election in December 1986; second and present National Assembly elected in December 1991; seats - (403 total) KMT 318, DPP 75, other 10; (next election to be held probably in 1996 and will be a direct popular election)

Judicial branch: Judicial Yuan

Political parties and leaders: Kuomintang (KMT, Nationalist Party), LI Teng-hui, chairman; Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), SHIH Ming-teh, chairman; Chinese New Party (CNP); Labor Party (LP)

Other political or pressure groups: 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, both within the DPP and the ruling Kuomintang, oppose the ruling party's traditional stand that the island will eventually unify with mainland China; the aims 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

Member of: expelled from UN General Assembly and Security Council on 25 October 1971 and withdrew on same date from other charter-designated subsidiary organs; expelled from IMF/World Bank group April/May 1980; seeking to join GATT; attempting to retain membership in INTELSAT; suspended from IAEA in 1972, but still allows IAEA controls over extensive atomic development, APEC, AsDB, BCIE, ICC, IOC, WCL

Diplomatic representation in 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 10 other US cities

US diplomatic representation: unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of Taiwan are maintained through a private institution, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has offices in Taipei at #7, Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, telephone [886] (2) 709-2000, and in Kao-hsiung at #2 Chung Cheng 3d Road, telephone [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, and the American Trade Center at Room 3207 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei 10548, telephone [886] (2) 720-1550

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


Overview: Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with considerable government guidance of investment and foreign trade and partial government ownership of some large banks and industrial firms. Real growth in GNP has averaged about 9% a year during the past three decades. Export growth has been even faster and has provided the impetus for industrialization. Inflation and unemployment are remarkably low. Agriculture contributes about 4% to GDP, down from 35% in 1952. Taiwan currently ranks as number 13 among major trading countries. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being 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.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $257 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 6% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $12,070 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.2% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 1.6% (1994)

revenues: $30.3 billion
expenditures: $30.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1991 est.)

Exports: $93 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: electrical machinery 19.7%, electronic products 19.6%, textiles 10.9%, footwear 3.3%, foodstuffs 1.0%, plywood and wood products 0.9% (1993 est.)
partners: US 27.6%, Hong Kong 21.7%, EC countries 15.2%, Japan 10.5% (1994 est.)

Imports: $85.1 billion (c.i.f., 1994)
commodities: machinery and equipment 15.7%, electronic products 15.6%, chemicals 9.8%, iron and steel 8.5%, crude oil 3.9%, foodstuffs 2.1% (1993 est.)
partners: Japan 30.1%, US 21.7%, EC countries 17.6% (1993 est.)

External debt: $620 million (1992 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 4.5% (1994 est.); accounts for more than 40% of GDP

capacity: 21,460,000 kW
production: 108 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 4,789 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 4% of GDP and 16% of labor force (includes part-time farmers); heavily subsidized sector; major crops - vegetables, rice, fruit, tea; livestock - hogs, poultry, beef, milk; not self-sufficient in wheat, soybeans, corn; fish catch increasing, reached 1.4 million metric tons in 1988

Illicit drugs: an important heroin transit point; also a major drug money laundering center

Economic aid:
recipient: US, including Ex-Im (FY46-82), $4.6 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $500 million

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

Exchange rates: New Taiwan dollars per US$1 - 26.2 (1994), 26.6 (1993), 25.4 (1992), 25.748 (1991), 27.108 (1990), 26.407 (1989)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


total: 4,600 km; note - 1,075 km in common carrier service and about 3,525 km is dedicated to industrial use
narrow gauge: 4,600 km 1.067-m

total: 20,041 km
paved: bituminous, concrete pavement 17,095 km
unpaved: crushed stone, gravel 2,371 km; graded earth 575 km

Pipelines: petroleum products 615 km; natural gas 97 km

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

Merchant marine:
total: 198 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,635,682 GRT/8,652,111 DWT
ships by type: bulk 55, cargo 30, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 2, combination ore/oil 1, container 78, oil tanker 17, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 12, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1

total: 41
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 8
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 6
with paved runways under 914 m: 8
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 2


Telephone system: 7,800,000 telephones; best developed system in Asia outside of Japan
local: NA
intercity: extensive microwave radio relay links on east and west coasts
international: 2 INTELSAT (1 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) earth stations; submarine cable links to Japan (Okinawa), Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe

broadcast stations: AM 91, FM 23, shortwave 0
radios: 8.62 million

broadcast stations: 15 (repeaters 13)
televisions: 6.386 million (color 5,680,000, monochrome 706,000)

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Coastal Patrol and Defense Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Military Police Command

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 6,293,884; males fit for military service 4,863,014; males reach military age (19) annually 201,191 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $9.8 billion, 3.4% of GDP (FY94/95); $9.77 billion proposed for FY95/96 budget