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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 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local 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 Taiwan's eventual status - as well as domestic political and economic reform.


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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 World Ranking: 139
Total 35,980 sq km
Land 32,260 sq km
Water 3,720 sq km
Note
Includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
1,566.3 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 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 3,952 m

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

Land use
Arable land 24%
Permanent crops 1%
Other 75% (2001)

Irrigated land
NA

Total renewable water resources
67 cu km (2000)

Natural hazards
Earthquakes; typhoons
Volcanism
Kueishantao Island (elev. 401 m), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries

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 because of Taiwan's international status

Geography - note
Strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait


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  Taiwan (Taipei):


  GPS points from Taiwan (Taipei)

Fa-tzu Ch'i T Ai-wan

Lin-t'ou Chiao T Ai-wan

Hsia-chu-wei T Ai-wan


Huo-yen-shan T Ai-wan

Mount Kanzan T Ai-wan


Hsi-ti-ts'un T Ai-wan




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