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Countries > Taiwan Taiwan Flag
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Capital: Taipei
Population: 21,750,000
Taiwan Map

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: 1,448 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% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 7,200 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: earthquakes and typhoons

Environment - current issues: water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; air pollution; 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: Marine Life Conservation

People

Population: 22,548,009 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years :21% (male 2,464,290; female 2,268,627)
15-64 years: 70% (male 8,010,014; female 7,774,296)
65 years and over: 9% (male 1,053,975; female 976,807) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.78% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 14.21 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:6.08 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth :1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years:1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years:1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over:1.08 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.74 years
male:73.99 years
female:79.71 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.76 children born/woman (2002 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%
male: 93%
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

National capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions: 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); 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 Shui-bian CHEN (since 20 May 2000) and Vice President Annette Hsiu-lien LU (since 20 May 2000)
head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) Shyi-kun YU (since 1 February 2002) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) Hsin-yi LIN (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 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 : Shui-bian CHEN elected president; percent of vote - Shui-bian CHEN (DPP) 39.3%, James SOONG (independent) 36.84%, LIEN Chan (KMT) 23.1%, HSU Hsin-liang (independent) 0.63%, LEE Ao (CNP) 0.13%

Legislative branch: 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 islandwide 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)
elections : Legislative Yuan - last held 8 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2004); note - the National Assembly is a nonstanding body and is called into session
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 - DPP 87, KMT 68, PFP 46, TSU 13, independents and other parties 11

Judicial branch:Judicial Yuan (justices appointed by the president with consent of the National Assembly; note - beginning in 2003, justices will be appointed by the president with consent of the Legislative Yuan)

Political parties and leaders:Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Frank Chang-ting HSIEH, chairman]; Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [LIEN Chan, chairman]; People First Party or PFP [James Chu-yu SOONG, chairman]; Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU [Chu-wen HUANG, chairman]; other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: 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, including within the DPP, 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) 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 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, FAX [886] (2) 702-7675, 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) 720-1550, FAX [886] 757-7162

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 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 35% in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam; 50,000 Taiwanese businesses are established in China. 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. The global economic downturn, however, combined with poor policy coordination by the new administration and increasing bad debts in the banking system, pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001, the first whole year of negative growth since 1947. Unemployment also reached a level not seen since the 1970s oil crisis.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $386 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -2.2% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $17,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 2%
industry: 32%
services: 66% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 0.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total:9.8 million (2001 est.)
by occupation:services 56%, industry 36%, agriculture 8% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.5% (2001 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $36 billion
expenditures: $36.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: -5% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 21.87 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 149.78 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 139.295 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish catch increasing, reached 1.4 million metric tons in 1988

Exports:
total value: $122 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 55%, metals, textiles, plastics, chemicals
partners : US 23.5%, Hong Kong 21.1%, Europe 16%, ASEAN 12.2%, Japan 11.2% (2000)

Imports:
total value: $109 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 50%, minerals, precision instruments
partners: Japan 27.5%, US 17.9%, Europe 13.6%, South Korea 6.4% (2000)

Debt - external: $40 billion (2000)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 New Taiwan dollar (TWD) = 100 cents

Exchange rates:new Taiwan dollars per US dollar - 34.494 (yearend 2001), 33.082 (yearend 2000), 31.395 (yearend 1999), 32.216 (1998), 32.052 (1997), 27.5 (1996)

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

Communications

Telephones:12.49 million (September 2000)

Telephone system: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need
domestic: thoroughly modern; 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)

Transportation

Railways:
total : 8.8 million (1998)
narrow gauge: 1,108 km 1.067-m gauge (519 km electrified)

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:152 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,262,451 GRT/6,596,950 DWT
ships by type : bulk 40, cargo 28, combination bulk 3, container 53, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 2

Airports: 39 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total:36
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m :8
under 914 m:3 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m:2 (2001)

Heliports: 3 (2001)

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 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49:6,575,625 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:5,018,882 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 198,766 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $8,041,200,000 (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.8% (FY01)

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

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