- Foreign relations of the Republic of China
The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is recognized by 23 sovereign states. The course of the foreign relations of the ROC is dominated by maintaining diplomatic relations with these countries, as well as unofficial relations with other countries via its de facto embassies and consulates.
Historical backgroundSee also: History of the Republic of China
Established in 1912, the early years of the Republic of China were characterised by the domination of warlords and foreign incursions. When World War I broke out in 1914, Japan fought on the Allied side and seized the German possessions in Shandong. The Japanese set before the Beiyang government in Beijing (then romanised as 'Peking') the Twenty-One Demands. The Beijing government rejected some of these demands but yielded to the Japanese insistence on keeping the Shandong territory already in its possession. Beijing also recognised Tokyo's authority over southern Manchuria and the eastern part of modern-day Inner Mongolia. In 1917, in secret communiques, Britain, France, and Italy assented to the Japanese claim in exchange for Japanese naval action against Germany.
In 1917, the Chinese Acting President Feng Kuo-Chang declared war on Germany in the hope of recovering its lost province Shandong, then under Japanese control. But in 1918, the Beiyang government signed a secret deal with Japan accepting the latter's claim to Shandong. When the Treaty of Versailles confirmed the Japanese claim to Shandong and Beijing's sellout became public, internal reaction was shattering. Thousands of students gathered in the streets of Beijing in a protest known as the May Fourth Movement. In Paris, the Chinese prevented their delegates from participating to the debates.
Between 1901 and 1937, the United States military maintained a strong presence in China to maintain Far East trade interests and to pursue a permanent alliance with the Republic of China, after long diplomatic difficulties with the Chinese Empire. The relationship between the U.S. and China was mostly on-again off-again, with periods of both cordial diplomatic relations accompanied by times of severed relations and violent anti-U.S. protests. The United States military in China was slowly withdrawn to protect other U.S. interests in the Pacific with the approach of World War II.
After years of Japanese control of Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, war broke out between Japan and China in 1937 in the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.
International disputesSee also: China and the United Nations
The 1970s saw a switch in diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China with countries like the United States, Japan, and Canada making the switch during that decade. In October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly, expelling "the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek" and replacing the China seat on the Security Council (and all other UN organs) with delegates from the People's Republic of China. It declared "that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations" and thus do not regard the Republic of China as legitimately representing the whole of China.
Many attempts by the ROC to rejoin the UN, in recent years, have not made it past committee, under fierce opposition and threatened vetoes from the PRC. The recent resolutions have all emphasized that Resolution 2758, replacing the ROC with the PRC in 1971, only addressed the question of who should have China's seat in the UN rather than whether an additional seat for the Taiwan Area can be created to represent the 23 million people on Taiwan and ROC's other islands. As of 2011, only 23 states officially recognize the Republic of China, as the PRC makes breaking ties with the ROC and recognizing the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China (including Taiwan) the prerequisite to establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC.
On less official terms, the ROC is involved in a complex dispute for control over the Spratly Islands with the PRC, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; and over the Paracel Islands, occupied by the PRC, but claimed by Vietnam and the ROC. The ROC claims the Japanese-administered Diaoyu Islands (which the Japanese call "Senakaku-shoto"), as does the PRC.
On November 7, 2003, ties were established with Kiribati. However, Taipei did not demand that ties be broken with Beijing and ROC Foreign Minister Eugene Chien said that he would not reject having both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognized simultaneously. The PRC also broke precedent by not cutting ties until November 29 and spent the interim lobbying for Kiribati President Anote Tong to reverse his decision. The decision to hold off for weeks was possibly due to the strategic importance of the PRC's satellite tracking base on Kiribati, which had been used for Shenzhou V and thought to have been used to spy on a U.S. missile range in the Marshall Islands.
Relations and changes
List of countries with diplomatic relations with the ROC
Dates indicate establishment or duration of relations; * indicates an embassy in Taipei
Africa (4 states)
- Burkina Faso* (1961–1973, 1994)
- Gambia* (1968–1974, 1995)
- São Tomé and Príncipe* (1997)
- Swaziland* (1968)
Europe (1 state)
- Vatican City* (The Holy See) (1942)
Oceania (6 states)
- Kiribati (2003)
- Marshall Islands* (1998)
- Nauru (1980–2002, 2005)
- Palau* (1999)
- Solomon Islands* (1983)
- Tuvalu (1979)
Central and South America, and Caribbean Community (12 states)
- Belize* (1989)
- Dominican Republic* (1957)
- El Salvador* (1961)
- Guatemala* (1960)
- Haiti* (1956)
- Honduras* (1965)
- Nicaragua* (1962–1985,1990)
- Panama* (1911)
- Paraguay* (1957)
- Saint Kitts and Nevis* (1983)
- Saint Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
Of these countries, Dominican Republic and Guatemala are the most economically substantial. Panama established diplomatic relations with the Qing Dynasty in 1909, and has continued to maintain relations with the Republic of China from 1911 up until the present.
Kiribati established diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on 7 November 2003, switching recognition from the PRC. Saudi Arabia ended their diplomatic relations with the ROC in 1990. South Korea was the last remaining country in Asia which had an official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China but also ended their diplomatic relations in 1992.
South Africa switched recognition to the PRC in 1998. Liberia switched from the PRC to the ROC in 1989, and back again to the PRC in October 2003. On March 31, 2004, Dominica ended its recognition, which began in 1983, because of offers from the PRC to provide $117 million over 6 years. The Republic of Macedonia recognized the ROC in the 1999 but switched diplomatic recognition in 2001 after the PRC imposed economic sanctions and used a rare veto on the UN Security Council to block peacekeeping efforts.
The Republic of China has non-diplomatic official relations with the European Union and at least 47 states, recognizing the People's Republic of China, that maintain "Economic, Trade and/or Cultural" (or similar) offices in Taiwan.
The following states, recognizing the People's Republic of China, do not maintain any official representation in Taiwan, either diplomatic or non-diplomatic:
- America: Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay
- Europe: Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
- Asia: Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea
- Oceania: Timor-Leste, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu
- Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho.
List of sovereign states and entities with no relations with either the ROC or PRC
The following list includes Bhutan, the Order of Malta, South Sudan and some of the states with limited recognition:
- Abkhazia – Recognized by 5 UN member states. The ROC does not recognize Abkhazia.
- Bhutan – Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with either the PRC or the ROC, but voted in favour of the PRC's entry into the UN in 1971 and conducts relations with the PRC through their respective missions in India and has honorary consulates in Hong Kong (SAR of PRC) and Macau (SAR of PRC). The ROC recognizes Bhutan.
- Kosovo – Recognized by 85 UN states. The ROC recognizes Kosovo.
- Nagorno-Karabakh Republic - The ROC does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – recognized by 50 UN states, claimed by Morocco. The ROC does not recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
- Somaliland - The ROC does not recognize Somaliland.
- South Ossetia – Recognized by 5 UN member states. The ROC does not recognize South Ossetia.
- Sovereign Military Order of Malta – sovereign entity without territory, established diplomatic relations with 103 states. The ROC recognizes the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
- South Sudan - The ROC recognizes South Sudan.
- Transnistria - The ROC does not recognize Transnistria.
- Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – Recognized by Turkey. The ROC does not recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Countries that have switched recognition from ROC to PRC after 1949Main articles: Timeline of diplomatic relations of the Republic of China and Dates of establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China
The Republic of China has publicly feared that if any one state should switch its recognition to the People's Republic of China, it would create a domino effect, encouraging other states to do so as well. The Holy See (Vatican) – the only European state to recognize the ROC – made efforts in 2007 to create formal ties with the PRC. High-ranking bishops in the Roman Catholic Church have implied that such a diplomatic move was possible, predicated on the PRC granting more freedom of religion and interfering less in the hierarchy of the Chinese Catholic church.
Country Period of recognition of ROC
or year recognition ceased
Albania to 1949 Afghanistan to 1955 Argentina to 1972 Australia to 1972 Austria to 1971 Bahamas 1989 to 1997 Belgium 1912 to 1971 Bolivia to 1985 Botswana to 1975 Brazil 1912 to 1974 Bulgaria to 1949 Burma to 1950 Cameroon to 1971 Canada to 1970 Central African Republic 1962 to 1964, 1968 to 1976, 1991 to 1998 Côte d'Ivoire to 1983 Chad 1962 to 1972, 1997 to 2006 Chile to 1970 Colombia to 1979 Congo-Brazzaville to 1972 Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) to 1961 Costa Rica 1944 to 2007 Cuba 1912 to 1960 Czechoslovakia to 1949 Dahomey to 1964 Denmark 1912 to 1950 Dominica 1983 to 2004 Egypt to 1956 Ecuador to 1980 Ethiopia Did not recognize either China until 1970. Recognized PRC in 1970. Equatorial Guinea to 1970 Finland to 1950 France 1912 to 1964 Gabon to 1974 Greece to 1972 Grenada 1989 to 2005 Guinea to 1959 Guinea-Bissau 1990 to 1998 Hungary to 1949 Iceland to 1971 India to 1950 Indonesia to 1950 Iran to 1971 Iraq to 1958 Ireland to 1979 Israel to 1950 Italy to 1970 Jamaica to 1972 Japan 1952 to 1972 Jordan to 1977 Kuwait to 1971 Laos to 1962 Lebanon to 1971 Lesotho 1966 to 1983, 1990 to 1994 Liberia 1957 to 1977, 1989 to 1993, 1997 to 2003 Libya to 1971 Liechtenstein to 1950 Luxembourg to 1972 Macedonia 1999 to 2001 Madagascar to 1972 Malawi 1966 to 2008 Malaysia 1957 to 1974 Mexico 1912 to 1972 Mongolia 1946 to 1949 Monaco to 1995 Morocco to 1958 Netherlands 1912 to 1950 Nepal to 1955 New Zealand to 1972 Nicaragua to 1985 Niger 1963 to 1974, 1992 to 1996 Nigeria 1960 to 1971 Norway 1928 to 1950 Pakistan 1947 to 1951 Peru to 1971 Philippines 1948 to 1975 Poland to 1949 Portugal 1912 to 1979 Romania to 1949 San Marino to 1971 Saudi Arabia 1946 to 1990 Senegal 1969 to 1972, 1996 to 2005 Sierra Leone to 1971 Singapore Did not recognize either China until 1992. Recognized PRC in 1992. Special relationship with ROC continues. South Africa 1976 to 1998 Spain 1912 to 1973 Soviet Union 1924 to 1949 South Korea 1949 to 1992 South Vietnam to 1975 Sudan to 1959 Sri Lanka to 1950 Sweden 1912 to 1950 Switzerland to 1950 Syria to 1956 Thailand to 1975 Togo to 1972 Tonga 1972 to 1998 Turkey to 1971 Uganda to 1962 United Arab Emirates to 1984 United Kingdom 1912 to 1950 United States 1912 to 1979 Uruguay 1966 to 1988 Vanuatu 2004-11-03 to 2004-11-10 Venezuela 1944 to 1974 West Germany to 1972 Yemen to 1956 Yugoslavia to 1955
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
IndiaMain article: India–Republic of China relations
The bilateral relations between India and the Republic of China have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining official diplomatic relations. India recognizes only the People's Republic of China (in mainland China) and not the Republic of China's contention of being the legitimate government of territorial China - a conflict that emerged after the Chinese Civil War (1945–49). However, India's economic and commercial links as well as people-to-people contacts with the ROC have expanded in recent years. The Republic of China also has border disputes with India, claiming South Tibet as part of the ROC.
On June 1, 1920, a friendship agreement was signed between the governments of China and Iran. Ratifications were exchanged on February 6, 1922, and the agreement went into effect on the same day. These relations came to an end in 1971, as the government in Tehran recognized the People's Republic of China.
JapanMain article: Japan-Republic of China relations
Japan-Republic of China relations are guided by the 1972 Japan-PRC Joint Communique. Japan has maintained non-governmental, working-level relations with the Republic of China ever since.
MongoliaMain article: Republic of China-Mongolia relations
The Republic of China has long considered Mongolia part of its territory. As such, and because Mongolia has recognized the PRC since 1949, there have never been formal diplomatic relations between the two states. The ROC recognized Mongolia's independence in early 1946, in accordance with an agreement made in connection with the Sino-Soviet Friendship treaty of August 1945, and the Mongolian referendum in October 1945. However, the ROC abrogated the 1945 Sino Soviet Friendship treaty in 1953, and began to claim Mongolia again.
In 2002, a Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office was opened in Ulaanbaatar, and on 3 October 2002, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Republic of China recognizes Mongolia as an independent country. In 2002, the Republic of China government excluded Mongolia from the definition of the "mainland area" for administrative purposes. In 2006, old laws regulating the formation of banners and monasteries in Outer Mongolia were repealed. However, the official borders of the Republic of China have not been changed via a vote of the National Assembly (as required by the Constitution prior to 2005) or via a referendum (as required by the Constitution after amendments made in 2005). The official status of recognition is currently ambiguous, though in practice Mongolia is treated as an ordinary foreign power.
ParaguayMain article: Republic of China – Paraguay relations
The partnership between the anti-communist governments of General Alfredo Stroessner and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was quite natural. Many Paraguayan officers went for training in Fu Hsing Kang College in Taiwan.
The ousting of Stroessner in 1989, and his successor Andrés Rodríguez's reinventing himself as a democratically elected president, were immediately followed by invitations from the People's Republic of China to switch diplomatic recognition. However, the ROC ambassador, Wang Sheng, and his diplomats were able to convince the Paraguayans that continuing the relationship with ROC, and thus keeping the ROC's development assistance and access to the ROC's markets, would be more advantageous for Paraguay.
Mainland ChinaMain article: Cross-Strait relations
The relations between the Republic of China with the People's Republic of China, which controls mainland China, have been complicated by history and politics.
Neither the government of the Republic of China nor the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) sees their relations as foreign relations. The government position that both Taiwan and mainland China are parts of the same state is not universally accepted in Taiwan. In particular, the pro-independence Pan-Green Coalition considers the ROC as "Taiwan", and considers the PRC as "China" and a different country. By contrast, the pro-reunification Pan-Blue Coalition supports the official position that both Taiwan and mainland China are parts of the same state, the Republic of China. Former president Lee Tung-hui described these relations as "Special State-to-State Relations". The subsequent administrations of President Chen Shui-bian described the ROC and the PRC by saying "...with Taiwan and China on each side of the Taiwan Strait, each side is a country.". Current President Ma Ying-jeou has returned to the earlier government position of the early 1990s, calling relations with the PRC special relations between two areas within one state. That state according to the ROC is the Republic of China, and due to constitutional reasons, neither the ROC nor the PRC recognises each other as a legitimate government.
The term preferred by the ROC and PRC governments is "cross-strait relations", referring to the geographical separator, the Taiwan Strait. The constitutional position of the ROC is that the territory of the ROC is divided into the "Mainland Area" and the "Free Area" (also known as "Taiwan Area"). Administratively, cross-strait relations are not conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROC, but by the Mainland Affairs Council, an instrumental of the Executive Yuan. The relations with Hong Kong and Macau are also conducted by the Mainland Affairs Council, although not all regulations applicable to mainland China are automatically applied to those territories.
Consistently with the policies of both governments, the ROC and the PRC governments do not directly interact. Talks are conducted by the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) of the PRC and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) of the ROC, formally privately constituted bodies that are controlled and directly answerable to the executive branch of their respective governments.
Until the late 1990s Hong Kong and Macau were British and Portuguese colonies respectively. They provided neutral detour points for people and goods moving from one side of the strait to the other. They, as well as Singapore, also served as venues for talks between the two sides. Among the fruits of these negotiations were the 1992 Consensus, reached in Hong Kong in 1992.
The Philippines recognize the One China Policy but has relations to the Republic of China through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila. Both offices were established in 1975 and were organized as non-profit and non-stock private corporations.
Total Investment Amount: US$1.1 billion (Taiwan is the 5th largest foreign investor in the Philippines)
Philippine Exports to Taiwan: US$3.1 billion
Philippine Imports from Taiwan: US$2.3 billion
OFWs in Taiwan: 87,000 (the 2nd largest foreign worker nationality group in Taiwan)
Trips to the Philippines by Taiwanese: 73,000 people (the 5th in foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines)
The ROC and the Philippines lack an extradition treaty with each other, this was cited by the Taipei Times in a case where in April, 2003, in Shihlin, Taipei, Republic of China, when a Filipino woman, Virginia Chun, aged 46, cut off the penis of her Chinese husband, surnamed Tsai, on a Tuesday while Tsai was asleep in their house. After flushing his penis down the toilet, she fled back to the Philippines to return home. After being stitched up at a hospital, Tsai was left with a 2.5 cm stump of a penis and is unable to have sex. The government of the ROC requested Virginia Chun be extradited to Taiwan to be put on trial, but due to the lack of an extradition treaty, it was unclear whether the Filipino police would agree to extradite her.
RussiaMain article: Republic of China – Russia relations
The Soviet Union had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China until 1949, when it switched to the recognition of the People's Republic of China (and in the same year the Republic of China established diplomatic relations with South Korea). Taiwan has exported many ferric materials to Russia in 2004-2005. In 2005, the total amount of the trade between the two economies (in US dollars) was 2,188,944,473. Russia also has a representative office in Taipei, and Republic of China has a representative office in Moscow. As can be seen from the data, Russia keeps a positive balance in its trade relations with the ROC thanks to crude oil, cast iron and steel, nonferrous metals, petrochemical products, ferroalloys, coking coal, timber, and chemical fertilizers. Russia imports mostly electronics and electronic parts, computers and computer parts, and home appliances. The two nations currently have a dispute over Tannu Uriankhai.
Singapore had maintained unofficial relations with both the ROC and the PRC until 1992. After the establishment of diplomatic ties between Singapore and the PRC on October 3, 1992, it continues to maintain close economic and military ties with the ROC as part of its attempt to position itself as a neutral party to both sides. This is, however, a diplomatically delicate situation which has flared up occasionally. A severe diplomatic row broke out between the PRC and Singapore when Lee Hsien Loong visited Taiwan a month before being sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Singapore on 12 August 2004. The Singaporean defence ministry took great pains to correct an erroneous report in the Liberty Times on a joint military exercise between the Singapore and the ROC in March 2005. Still, Singapore is the only foreign country to maintain military training camps in Taiwan, and continues to regularly send infantry, artillery, and armoured personnel there for training annually. There has been talk in recent years, however, of the possibility of moving some or all of these facilities to Hainan following an offer by the PRC, although this may not be taken up due to sensitivities in diplomatic relations between Singapore and its defence ally, USA.
South KoreaMain article: Republic of China-South Korea relations
South Korea was the last Asian country that had an official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. Relations between the Republic of China and South Korea date back to 4 January 1949, four months after the formal establishment of the South Korean government, when the Republic of China set up an embassy in Seoul's Myeongdong district. However, on 23 August 1992 the Republic of China severed diplomatic relations with South Korea in advance of the latter's announcement of formal recognition of the People's Republic of China.
United StatesSee also: Republic of China-United States relations
Commercial, cultural, and other relations between "the people of the United States" and "the people on Taiwan" are currently governed by the Taiwan Relations Act. The Act does not recognize the terminology of "Republic of China" after Jan. 1, 1979. Importantly, Taiwan has been mentioned in the Three Communiqués between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
According to the U.S. Department of State's Background Notes:
- The U.S. has welcomed and encouraged the cross-Strait dialogue as a process which contributes to a reduction of tension and to an environment conducive to the eventual peaceful resolution of the outstanding differences between the two sides. The United States believes that differences between Taipei and Beijing should be resolved by the people on both sides of the Strait themselves. The U.S. has consistently stated that its abiding interest is that the process be peaceful.
This statement is an example of the careful wording that the United States has to undergo to avoid possibly disastrous diplomatic gaffes. A clear statement that the United States does not recognize the PRC claim to Taiwan would bring instant diplomatic retaliation from the PRC. A clear statement that the United States does recognize the PRC claim over Taiwan would risk encouraging the PRC to take military action against Taiwan, and would also be politically almost impossible, in view of the sympathy that Taiwan has in the United States. So the United States responds by making a clear statement that it prefers dialogue over tension and peace over war; about the PRC's claim to Taiwan, it makes no statement at all.
There is a general agreement to maintain the "status quo", which includes not being very clear about what the "status quo" really is. There was some worry that the policy of strategic ambiguity would cause mistaken impressions of people's intentions. Partly to deal with this situation, the policy of the Four Noes and One Without has been developed in which the ROC has pledged not to take certain actions that would be provocative toward Beijing. In a number of cases, when the ROC appeared to be moving away from this policy, Washington has asked for and received assurances that this was not the case.
Similar positions on Taiwan are taken by a majority of countries. Twenty-three states recognize the ROC as the legitimate ruler of China and reject the PRC claims to legitimacy. During the 1990s, the ROC actively encouraged such recognition through generous grants of foreign aid. In the 2000s, this strategy was abandoned because the PRC could outbid the ROC with foreign aid, and the spending of large sums of money to buy recognition became quite unpopular in Taiwan.
In the 2000s, the diplomatic strategy of the ROC appears to have shifted to encourage "democratic solidarity" with major powers, such as the United States, Europe, and Japan.
In 2007, a measure was introduced into the United States Congress that would dramatically strengthen U.S. ties with the ROC. The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the lift of United States government curbs on visits by high ranking or top ROC officials. The Resolution noted that "whenever high-level visitors from Taiwan, including the President, seek to come to the United States, their requests result in a period of complex, lengthy and humiliating negotiations." In an additional note on the resolution, it said: "Lifting these restrictions will help bring a friend and ally of the United States out of its isolation, which will be beneficial to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region."
A bill was also introduced by U.S. lawmakers to back the UN bid by the ROC. The bill stated that Taiwan and its 23 million people "deserve membership in the United Nations" and that the United States should fulfill a commitment "to more actively support Taiwan's membership in appropriate international organizations." The bill was introduced on the 8th of November 2007, at the House Foreign Affairs Committee by 18 Republican legislators and one Democrat. Congressional records show that the move was led by New Jersey Republican Representative Scott Garrett.
Official diplomatic relations are currently nonexistent, as the United States ended them in 1979 as a prerequisite for establishing ties with the PRC. Unofficial diplomatic relations are nevertheless maintained on both sides by means of de facto embassies, which are technically "private organizations" staffed by career diplomats who are formally "on leave". The ROC's de facto embassy network is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) with offices in Washington, D.C., and 12 other U.S. cities, as well as many other countries without official ties to the ROC. The Americans' analogous organization is the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
VenezuelaMain article: Republic of China-Venezuela relations
In 2007 Venezuela decided not to renew visas for five members of Taiwanese commercial representation in Caracas. Relations with Venezuela have worsened because of the increasing partnership between the government of Hugo Chávez and the People's Republic of China.
OceaniaMain article: Sino-Pacific relations
The Republic of China maintains diplomatic relations with six countries in Oceania: Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The People's Republic of China has relations with eight others (including Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Fiji). The Pacific is an area of intense and continuous diplomatic competition between the PRC and the ROC, with several countries (Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu) having switched diplomatic support from one to the other at least once. Both the PRC and the ROC provide development aid to their respective allies. In exchange, the ROC's allies support the ROC's membership bid in the United Nations. The Republic of China is one of tiny Tuvalu and Nauru's most important economic partners.
In May 2008, Republic of China's Foreign Minister James Huang resigned, along with two other top officials of the out-going Chen Shui-bian Administration, after wasting over €19 million in a failed attempt to win diplomatic recognition for the Republic of China from Papua New Guinea. The misuse of the money caused public outrage, forcing Huang's resignation. Papua New Guinea's foreign minister Sam Abal subsequently confirmed that his country had no intention of recognising the Republic of China.
The incident led the Republic of China's then-incoming president Ma Ying-jeou to call for what he referred to as a "cease-fire" in the competition between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China for diplomatic allies.
Relations with other countries
While maintaining diplomatic relations with the PRC, many countries still maintain unofficial 'trade missions' or 'representative offices' in Taipei, to deal with commercial and consular issues. For example, France maintains a "French Institute" in Taipei, whose first apparent purpose is "cultural," but which also has consular and economic sections, as does the United Kingdom's British Trade and Cultural Office., However, owing to political sensitivities, these countries may often forward visa applications to their nearest embassy or consulate, rather than processing them locally. Similarly, the ROC maintains Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices or Taipei Representative Offices in other countries, which handle visa applications as well as relations with local authorities.
Relation with International organizations
Under PRC pressure, the ROC has been excluded from or downgraded in many international organizations. In other cases, the ROC may have full participation, due to the usage of names such as Chinese Taipei.
Below is a list of such international organizations and the names as which the ROC is known:
- Agency for international trade information and cooperation (AITIC) (participates as "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu")
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (participates as "Chinese Taipei")
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) (participates as "Chinese Taipei")
- Banco Centralamericano de Integración Economico (BCIE or CABEI) (participates as "Republic of China")
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) (participates as "Chinese Taipei")
- International Monetary Fund (IMF) (referred to as "Chinese Taipei")
- International Olympic Committee (IOC) (participates as "Chinese Taipei")
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recognizes the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, but it is not member of the IFRC
- International Union of Railways (UIC) (participates as "Taiwan (China)")
- Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA) (participates as "Republic of China")
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (National Organizing Committee participates as "Chinese Taipei", de-jure as part of PR China membership)
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) (participates as "Taiwan")
- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) (participates as "Taiwan", also note that there is no national member of WAGGGS in PRC)
- World Bank (referred to as "Chinese Taipei")
- World Confederation of Labour (WCL) (participates as "Taiwan")
- World Health Organization (WHO) (participates as an observer as "Chinese Taipei" on an invitation basis with its relations with the WHO being governed by a Memorandum of Understanding dated 14 May 2005 between the PRC and the WHO)
- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) (participates as "Chinese Taipei")
- World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) (participates as "Scouts of China", also note that there is no national member of WOSM in PRC)
- World Trade Organization (WTO) (participates as "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu")
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
- Metre Convention (associate as "Chinese Taipei")
- free trade agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama (as Republic of China)
- Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with PRChina (signed between Straits Exchange Foundation and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits - for Taiwan and PRChina respectively)
The Republic of China claims to be the sole legitimate government of China. Accordingly, the Republic of China claims all territories currently administered by the People's Republic of China and Mongolia. This includes Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Outer Mongolia. As part of the same claim, the Republic of China also claims some surrounding areas which it says were historically part of Chinese territory, including South Tibet, an eastern part of Bhutan, the Russian-administered part of Heixiazi Island, a northern part of Burma, part of the Pamir Mountains, Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilongjiang River and Tannu Uriankhai. However, the ROC government does not currently actively pursue these claims.
The Republic of China also claims islands in the South China Sea on the same basis as its claim to historical Chinese territory. Unlike its claims on the Asian mainland, however, the ROC government actively pursues and defends some of its claims to these islands. These include all of the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal. These islands are administered by a number of governments around the South China Sea. The ROC also claims the Diaoyutai Islands, currently administered by Japan.
The People's Republic of China, in turn, asserts itself as the sole legitimate government of pre-civil war China, and claims all territories administered by the Republic of China as part of that territory.
Transport and communications
The dispute over the ROC's status has also affected the island's air links with the outside world, particularly Europe, North America and Australia. For many years, Mandarin Airlines, a subsidiary of the ROC's national airline, China Airlines (CAL) served many international destinations that CAL did not, owing to political sensitivities. However, in 1995 CAL dropped the ROC national colours from its livery, and now flies to international destinations under its own name.
Many countries' national airlines similarly set up special subsidiaries to operate services to Taipei, with a different name, and livery omitting national symbols. For example, British Airways' now defunct subsidiary, British Asia Airways, operated flights to London, KLM's subsidiary, KLM Asia, operated flights to Amsterdam, and Swissair's subsidiary, Swissair Asia, operated flights to Zurich, while other countries' flag carriers, such as Germany's Lufthansa, operated flights to Taipei using an existing subsidiary (in Lufthansa's case, Condor). Qantas had a subsidiary called Australia Asia Airlines, which flew between Sydney and Taipei, but now operates flights to the island as a code share with EVA Air.
Japan Air Lines established a subsidiary called Japan Asia Airways to operate flights to Tokyo. Before the completion of the second runway at New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport) near Tokyo, Japan, airlines from Taiwan were required to fly to Tokyo International Airport (commonly known as Haneda Airport) in Ota, Tokyo in order not to offend the airlines from the People's Republic of China that flew to Narita.
As of July 2008[update], charter flights between mainland China and Taiwan, which were traditionally only allowed on special holidays such as the Chinese New Year, were expanded greatly. Under current plans, the opening of these flights may eventually reach a capacity of 3,000 mainland Chinese tourists per day entering Taiwan.
International dialing codes are assigned by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to its member states and their dependencies. However, as the ROC was not an ITU member state, it had to be allocated the code 886 unofficially, with the ITU listing the code as 'reserved'. Originally, until the late 1970s, the ROC used the code 86, but the code was re-assigned to the People's Republic of China in conformity with ITU's official membership, forcing the ROC to utilize another code for countries that wished to maintain direct dial connections.
The PRC has reserved part of its numbering plan for calls to Taiwan, using the prefix 06, but despite this, calls from the PRC to Taiwan are still currently made by using the international dialing code +886.
- China and the United Nations
- List of diplomatic missions in the Republic of China
- Republic of China diplomatic missions
- Republic of China passport
- Visa policy of the Republic of China
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