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Taiwan



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Introduction

Background: In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan, however it 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 that over five decades has gradually democratized and incorporated the native population within its structure. Throughout this period, the island has prospered to become one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issue continues to be the relationship between Taiwan and China and the question of eventual reunification.

Geography

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

Geographic coordinates: 23 30 N, 121 00 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

Area
  total: 35,980 sq km
  land: 32,260 sq km
  water: 3,720 sq km (Note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy)

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,566.3 km

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

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

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
  highest point: Yu Shan 3,997 m

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

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

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: earthquakes and typhoons

Environment - current issues: 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
  party to: none of the selected agreements
  signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

People

Population: 22,191,087 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 22% (male 2,485,421; female 2,292,901)
  15-64 years: 70% (male 7,869,939; female 7,629,195)
  65 years and over: 8% (male 1,013,074; female 900,557) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.81% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 14.42 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.91 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 1.12 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 76.35 years
  male: 73.62 years
  female: 79.32 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.76 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
  adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 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
  definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  total population: 86% (1980 est.); note - literacy for the total population has reportedly increased to 94% (1998 est.)
  male: 93% (1980 est.)
  female: 79% (1980 est.)

Government

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

Data code: TW

Government type: multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president

Capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions: since in the past the authorities claimed to be the government of all China, 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); note - 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 Chinese Revolution)

Constitution: 1 January 1947, amended in 1992, 1994, and 1997

Legal system: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch: (Note: President-elect CHEN Shui-bian is scheduled to take office on 20 May 2000)
  chief of state: President LEE Teng-hui (succeeded to the presidency following the death of President CHIANG Ching-kuo 13 January 1988, elected by the National Assembly 21 March 1990, elected by popular vote in the first-ever direct elections for president 23 March 1996); Vice President LIEN Chan (since 20 May 1996)
  head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) Vincent SIEW (since 1 September 1997) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) LIU Chao-shiuan (since 10 December 1997)
  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 18 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); 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) 39.3%, James SOONG (independent) 36.84%, LIEN Chan (KMT) 23.1%, HSU Hsin-liang (independent) .63%, LEE Ao (CNP) .13%

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Yuan (225 seats - 168 elected by popular vote, 41 elected on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected by popular vote among the aboriginal populations; members serve three-year terms) and unicameral National Assembly (334 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
  elections: Legislative Yuan - last held 5 December 1998 (next to be held NA December 2001); National Assembly - last held 23 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
  election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - KMT 46%, DPP 29%, CNP 7%, independents 10%, other parties 8%; seats by party - KMT 123, DPP 70, CNP 11, independents 15, other parties 6; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - KMT 55%, DPP 30%, CNP 14%, other 1%; seats by party - KMT 183, DPP 99, CNP 46, other 6

Judicial branch: Judicial Yuan, justices appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Chinese New Party or CNP [CHOU Yang-sun]; Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [LIN Yi-hsiung, chairman]; Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [LIEN Chan, acting chairman]; Taiwan Independence Party or TAIP [CHENG Pang-chen]; other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: 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; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose the ruling party's traditional stand that the island will eventually reunify 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: APEC, AsDB, BCIE, ICC, IOC, WCL, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the 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) in the US with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities

Diplomatic representation from the US: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through a private corporation, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia (telephone: [1] (703) 525-8474 and FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385) and offices in Taipei at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, telephone [886] (2) 2709-2000, FAX [886] (2) 2702-7675, and in Kao-hsiung at #2 Chung Cheng 3d Road, telephone [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, FAX [886] (7) 223-8237, 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) 2720-1550, FAX [886] (2) 2757-7162

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

Economy

Economy - overview: 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. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8% during the past three decades. Exports have grown even faster and have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. Inflation and unemployment are low; the trade surplus is substantial; and foreign reserves are the world's third largest. Agriculture contributes 3% to GDP, down from 35% in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved off-shore and 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. 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 1998-99. Growth in 2000 should pick up a bit from 1999, backed by expansion in domestic consumption, exports, and private investment.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $357 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $16,100 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 3%
  industry: 33%
  services: 64% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: 1% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.4% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 9.7 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: services 55%, industry 37%, agriculture 8% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.9% (1999 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $36.82 billion
  expenditures: $40.53 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Industries: electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing

Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 133.586 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 65.91%
  hydro: 7.84%
  nuclear: 26.25%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 124.235 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish

Exports: $121.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: electronics, electric and machinery equipment 52%, metals, textiles, plastics, chemicals

Exports - partners: US 26%, Hong Kong 21%, Europe 18%, Japan 10%, Singapore 3% (1999)

Imports: $101.7 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities: electronics, electric and machinery equipment 45%, minerals, precision instruments

Imports - partners: Japan 27%, US 18%, Europe 16%, South Korea 6%, Malaysia 4% (1999)

Debt - external: $35 billion (September 1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $NA

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

Exchange rates: New Taiwan dollars per US$1 - 31.395 (yearend 1999), 32.216 (1998), 32.052 (1997), 27.5 (1996), 27.5 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June (up to FY98/99); 1 July 1999 - 31 December 2000 for FY00; calendar year (after FY00)

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 12 million (October 1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 10.2 million (October 1999)

Telephone system
  domestic: provides modern telecommunications service for every business and private need; completely digitalized
  international: 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: AM 218, FM 333, shortwave 50 (1999)

Radios: 16 million (1994)

Television broadcast stations: 29 (plus two repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 8.8 million (1998)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 2,481 km (519 km electrified)
  narrow gauge: 2,481 km 1.067-m (1999)

Highways
  total: 34,901 km
  paved: 31,271 km (including 538 km of expressways)
  unpaved: 3,630 km (1998 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 3,400 km; natural gas 1,800 km (1999)

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

Merchant marine
  total: 175 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,944,166 GRT/7,710,891 DWT
  ships by type: bulk 45, cargo 33, combination bulk 1, container 69, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 8, roll-on/roll-off 2 (1999 est.)

Airports: 38 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 35
  over 3,047 m: 8
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
  914 to 1,523 m: 7
  under 914 m: 3 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 3
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
  under 914 m: 2 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Coastal Patrol and Defense Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces

Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 6,554,373 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 5,017,643 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 201,413 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $8.042 billion (FY98/99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.8% (FY98/99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: 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; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does China

Illicit drugs: considered an important heroin transit point; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamines and heroin

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