Foreign relations of Taiwan

Building of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Taipei.
David Lee, the incumbent Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The foreign relations of Taiwan, constitutionally and officially the Republic of China (ROC),[1][2] are the relations between the Republic of China and other countries. The Republic of China is recognized by 21 United Nations member states, as well as by the Holy See. The ROC maintains diplomatic relations with those countries, as well as unofficial relations with other countries via its representative offices and consulates.

The Republic of China participated in the 1943 Moscow Conference, the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and was a charter member of the United Nations. In 1949, the Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War in mainland China and retreated to Taiwan. Despite the major loss of territory, the ROC continued to be recognized as the legitimate government of China by the UN and by many non-Communist states. In 1971, the UN expelled the ROC and transferred China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC). In addition to the ad tempus recognition of the ROC by a majority of countries before UN Resolution 2758, the Republic of China lost its membership in all the intergovernmental organizations related to the UN. As the UN and related organizations like International Court of Justice are the most common venues for effective execution of international law and serve as the international community for states in the post-World War II period, a majority of the countries aligned with the West in the Cold War terminated diplomatic relations with the ROC and recognized quid pro quo of the PRC instead.

Articles 23 and 110 of the United Nations Charter explicitly refer to the Republic of China, but the seat of China is currently occupied by the People's Republic of China. (for more, see Chapter II of the United Nations Charter). The ROC continues to maintain de facto relations,[3][4] including with most of the non-governmental organizations[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] at the United Nations, in addition with the concern from UNESCO.[12] Exclusively, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which is entitled by the founding of the United Nations as the cornerstone of modern-day diplomacy since the Vienna Congress, was signed and ratified by the Republic of China on 18 April 1961 and 19 December 1969[13] including Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes.[14] Article 35th of 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties also applies to the ROC after 1971.[15] Due to the ROC's insecurity and intolerance in the 1970s and 1980s after being expelled by the UN and the termination of official US–ROC diplomatic relations, but by the American persuasion[16] (when influential James R. Lilley was the Director of American Institute in Taiwan at the time) Taiwan has been gradually democratized and adopting universal suffrage from the one-party military rule under the leadership of President Chiang Ching-kuo. The first direct presidential election was held in 1996 and the incumbent President Lee Teng-hui was elected. As of 4 May 2015, ROC nationals are eligible for preferential visa treatment from 142 countries and areas.[17] In the context of superpower and influential diplomacy, the ROC's traditional and sober allies includes United States of America, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.[18] The ROC's cultural diplomacy includes the establishment of the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies in 2012 in major Universities around the world.

The ROC is one of the main supporters of official development assistance.[19] International Cooperation and Development Fund manages ROC's Foreign Assistance and International Cooperation projects.[20][21] As of 2010, along with other US security allies including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea in the Asia-Pacific region with Taiwan Relations Act, officials of the ROC have gained quasi-official level visits to the United States both in the governmental and political level, including the US–Taiwan cooperative military guidance[22][23][24] in the annual Han Kuang joint-force exercises.[25] The Common Strategic Objectives of Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee of 2005 and 2011 (and reiterated in 2013) included to encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue and encourage China’s responsible and constructive role in regional stability and prosperity, its cooperation on global issues, and its adherence to international norms of behavior, while building trust among the United States, Japan, and China. Improve openness and transparency with respect to China’s military modernization and activities and, strengthen confidence building measures, with China's rapid expanding military investments.[26][27][28] Taiwan's GDP by nominal means is ahead of several G20 economies of global financial governance.[29] In the context of international norm of tabula rasa, there is a variety of forms for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROC as a de facto state in readiness to join the international community, and (if applicable) as a sui generis entity of international law abiding by the reference of ex factis jus oritur[30] principle and a priori and a posteriori of the Republic of China, to participate in the international organizations as defined by the international organizational norms and Union of International Associations.[31][32][33]

Historical background

Taiwan was annexed from China by Japan in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War. In the Northern Expedition, the Nationalists defeated the warlords of the Beiyang clique and established a unified government for China in Nanjing. The United States recognized Nationalist China on 25 July 1928, the first government to do so.[34] The Japanese occupied much of China during World War II. After Japan's defeat in 1945, Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China but a civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists soon followed. The Communists gained control of the mainland in 1949 and proclaimed the People's Republic of China, while the Nationalists fled to Taiwan. In 1952, Taiwan was ceded by Japan in the Treaty of San Francisco.

In 1916, A. P. Winston, the author of Chinese Finance under the Republic, said, "chief sources of information on those matters of discussion which have been subjects of diplomacy" were official publications from the United Kingdom.[35] Winston explained that few official reports from the Chinese government aside from the maritime customs sector had appeared at that point, and that the government of the Republic of China was "too poor, perhaps still too secretive, to make regular and full publication of statistics."[35]

In September 2016, the MOFA planned to reduce less than 10 ROC diplomatic missions due to the needs to meet the demand of the strategic and diplomatic needs for Taiwan.[36]

International disputes

The vote in the UN General Assembly on Resolution 2758 (1971).

The 1970s saw a switch in diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC, 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 transferred China's seat on the Security Council to the PRC. The resolution 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." However, the eo ipso nature of Taiwan and weapons of mass destruction has remained as a contentious ipso facto issue.

Many attempts by the ROC to rejoin the UN, in recent years, have not made it past committee, under fierce opposition and threatened vetoes by the PRC. Attempts under President Chen Shui-bian attempted the argument 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 other islands. The argument, however, has not been accepted by the UN because the issue of Taiwan Independence was not raised in UN.

As of 2013, 21 UN member states and the Holy See officially recognize ROC.

On less official terms, Taiwan is involved in a complex dispute for control over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; and over the Paracel Islands, occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and by Taiwan. Taiwan claims the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, which are called the Diaoyu Islands in Taiwan and China.

On 7 November 2003, diplomatic ties were established with Kiribati. However, the ROC did not demand that ties be broken with the PRC, and ROC Foreign Minister Eugene Chien said that he would not reject having both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognized simultaneously.[37] PRC also broke precedent by not cutting ties until 29 November 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 China'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.

Types of relations

Entities with full diplomatic relations with Taiwan

The ROC embassy in Swaziland.
Foreign relations of Taiwan
  diplomatic relations
  non-diplomatic official relations

In the following list, the dates indicate establishment or duration of relations. Among all, only Saint Lucia has not established an embassy in Taipei.[38]

Oceania (6 States)

Africa (3 States)

Europe (1 State)

Central America (6 States)

Caribbean (5 States)

South America (1 State)

Due to the limited size of Vatican City, all embassies accredited to the Holy See are located in Rome, outside the borders of Vatican City. Hence, the Republic of China's embassy to the Holy See is located in a country that does not officially recognize the ROC.

Panama established diplomatic relations with the Qing dynasty in 1909 and continues to maintain relations with the Republic of China, deeming it its successor.[41]

President Chen Shui-bian (far left) attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and as the Holy See's recognized head of state of China, was seated in the first row in alphabetical order beside the first lady and president of Brazil.

Entities with non-diplomatic representation in Taiwan

Taiwan has non-diplomatic, unofficial governmental 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. These relations are not inter-governmental nor are they officially diplomatic or political. However, they have many of the functions usually assigned to actual embassies, including the processing of visas, cultural exchanges and to some extent, unofficial diplomatic and governmental exchanges.

For example, the American Institute in Taiwan functions as the United States' de facto embassy in Taiwan with the chairman and staff acting as unofficial government consulate officers who nevertheless perform duties that official embassies would undertake. Ireland does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the Taipei Representative Office in Dublin has no diplomatic or political status, referring to UN Resolution 2758.[42]

Entities with no representation in Taiwan

The following states, recognizing Beijing, do not maintain any representation in Taiwan (including any non-political, non-diplomatic, non inter-governmental representation):

Entities with no relations with either ROC or PRC

The following table includes Bhutan, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and some of the states with limited recognition:

Name Recognized by Taiwan Notes
 Abkhazia No Recognized by four UN member states.
 Bhutan Yes[43] Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with either the PRC or the ROC, but voted in favour of Beijing's entry into the UN in 1971 and conducts relations with China through their respective missions in India[44] and has honorary consulates in Hong Kong and Macau.
 Kosovo Yes[45][46] Recognized by 110 UN states, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
 Nagorno-Karabakh Republic No
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic No[47] Recognized by 34 UN states, claimed by Morocco.
 Somaliland No
 South Ossetia No Recognized by four UN member states.
 Sovereign Military Order of Malta Yes[48] A sovereign entity without territory, established diplomatic relations with 104 states.
 Transnistria No
 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus No[49] Recognized by Turkey.

Entities that have switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC

Former French Embassy to the Republic of China in Nanjing.
Former Mexican Embassy to the Republic of China in Nanjing.
Former Soviet Union Embassy to the Republic of China in Nanjing.
Former United Kingdom Embassy to the Republic of China in Nanjing.
Former United States Embassy to the Republic of China in Nanjing.

Taiwan has publicly feared that if any one state should switch its recognition to Beijing, it would create a domino effect, encouraging other states to do so as well.[50] The Holy See (Vatican)  the only European state to recognize Taiwan  made efforts in 2007 to create formal ties with Beijing.[51] High-ranking bishops in the Catholic Church have implied that such a diplomatic move was possible,[52] predicated on China's granting more freedom of religion[53] and interfering less in the hierarchy of the Chinese Catholic church.[54]

Entity Period of recognition of the Republic of China
Albania Albania to 1949
Afghanistan Afghanistan to 1955
 Argentina 1945 to 1972
 Australia 1941 to 1972
 Austria 1928 to 1971
 Bahamas 1989 to 1997
 Belgium 1928 to 1971
 Bolivia to 1985
 Botswana 1966 to 1975
 Brazil 1928 to 1974
Bulgaria Bulgaria 1947 to 1949
 Burma 1948 to 1950
 Cameroon 1960 to 1971
 Canada 1941 to 1970
 Central African Republic 1962 to 1964, 1968 to 1976, 1991 to 1998
 Ivory Coast 1963 to 1983
 Chad 1962 to 1972, 1997 to 2006
 Chile 1931 to 1970
 Colombia 1941 to 1979
 Congo-Brazzaville 1960 to 1964
 DR Congo 1960 to 1961, 1961 to 1972[55]
 Costa Rica 1944 to 2007[56]
 Cuba 1929 to 1960
 Czechoslovakia 1931 to 1949
 Dahomey 1960 to 1964, 1966 to 1972
 Denmark 1928 to 1950
 Dominica 1983 to 2004
 Egypt to 1956
 Ecuador 1947 to 1980
 Equatorial Guinea to 1970
 Finland 1925 to 1934/1950[57]
 France 1928 to 1964
 Gabon 1960 to 1974
 Gambia 1968 to 1974, 1995 to 2013
 Greece 1947 to 1972
 Grenada 1989 to 2005
 Guinea to 1959
 Guinea-Bissau 1990 to 1998
Hungary Hungary to 1949
 Iceland to 1971
 India 1947 to 1950
 Indonesia 1945 to 1950
Iran Iran to 1971
 Iraq 1942 to 1958
 Israel 1949 to 1950
 Italy 1928 to 1970
 Jamaica to 1972
 Japan 1930 to 1937, 1952 to 1972
 Jordan 1947 to 1977
 Kuwait 1963 to 1971
 Laos 1953 to 1962
 Latvia 1923 to 1991
 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 1949 to 1972
 Macedonia 1999 to 2001
 Madagascar to 1972
 Malawi 1966 to 2008[58]
 Malaysia 1957 to 1974
 Mexico 1928 to 1972
 Mongolia 1946 to 1949
 Monaco 1934 to 1995
 Morocco 1956 to 1958
 Netherlands 1928 to 1950
   Nepal to 1955
 New Zealand to 1972
 Niger 1963 to 1974, 1992 to 1996
 Nigeria 1960 to 1971
 Norway 1928 to 1950
 Pakistan 1947 to 1951
 Peru 1931 to 1971
 Philippines 1948 to 1975
 Poland 1930 to 1949
 Portugal 1928 to 1975
Romania Romania 1939 to 1949
 San Marino to 1971
 Saudi Arabia 1946 to 1990
 Senegal 1969 to 1972, 1996 to 2005
 Sierra Leone to 1971
 South Africa 1976 to 1998[59]
 Spain 1928 to 1973
 Soviet Union 1929 to 1949
 South Korea 1949 to 1992
 South Vietnam 1955 to 1975[60]
 Sudan 1956 to 1959
 Sri Lanka 1948 to 1950
 Sweden 1928 to 1950
  Switzerland to 1950
 Syria to 1956
 Thailand 1945 to 1975
 Togo 1960 to 1972
 Tonga 1972 to 1998
 Turkey 1934 to 1971[61]
 Uganda to 1962
 United Arab Emirates 1973 to 1984
 United Kingdom 1928 to 1950
 United States 1928 to 1979
 Uruguay 1966 to 1988
 Vanuatu 2004-11-03 to 2004-11-10[62]
 Venezuela 1944 to 1974
 West Germany 1955 to 1972
Yemen Yemen to 1956
 Yugoslavia 1945 to 1955

Entities that have never recognized the ROC but do recognize the PRC

Country Year recognised the PRC
 Algeria 1958
 Andorra 1994
 Angola 1983
 Antigua and Barbuda 1983
 Armenia 1992
 Azerbaijan 1992
 Bahrain 1989
 Bangladesh 1975
 Barbados 1977
 Belarus 1992
 Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995
 Brunei 1991
 Burundi 1963
 Cambodia 1958
 Cape Verde 1976
 Comoros 1975
 Cook Islands 1997
 Croatia 1992
 Cyprus 1971
 Djibouti 1979
 East Germany 1949
 Timor-Leste 2002
 Eritrea 1993
 Estonia 1991
 Ethiopia 1970
 Fiji 1975
 Georgia 1992
 Ghana 1960
 Grenada 1985
 Guyana 1972
 Ireland 1979
 Kazakhstan 1992
 Kenya 1963
 Kyrgyzstan 1992
 Lithuania 1991
 Macedonia 1993
 Maldives 1972
 Mali 1960
 Malta 1972
 Mauritania 1965
 Mauritius 1972
 Micronesia 1989
 Moldova 1992
 Montenegro 2006
 Mozambique 1975
 Namibia 1990
 Niue 2007
 North Korea 1949
 Oman 1978
 Palestine 1988
 Papua New Guinea 1976
 Qatar 1988
 Rwanda 1971
 Samoa 1975
 Senegal 1971
 Seychelles 1976
 Singapore 1990 [63]
 Slovenia 1992
 Somalia 1960
 South Sudan 2011
 South Yemen 1968
 Suriname 1976
 Tajikistan 1992
 Tanzania 1964
 Trinidad and Tobago 1974
 Tunisia 1964
 Turkmenistan 1992
 Ukraine 1992
 Uzbekistan 1992
 Vietnam 1950
 Zambia 1964
 Zimbabwe 1980

Recent changes

Number of countries recognizing ROC and PRC
Year Recognition of ROC[64] Recognition of PRC
1969 71 48
1971 68 53
1973 31 89
1978 21 112
1986 23 134
1990 28 139
2012 23 172
2013 22 172
2016 22 173[65]

Kiribati established diplomatic relations with the ROC on 7 November 2003, switching recognition from the PRC.[66] Saudi Arabia ended its diplomatic relations with the ROC in 1990. South Korea was the last country in Asia which had official diplomatic relations with the ROC, but also ended its diplomatic relations in 1992.[67]

South Africa switched recognition to the PRC in 1998. Liberia switched from PRC to ROC in 1989, and back to PRC in October 2003. On 31 March 2004, Dominica ended its recognition, which began in 1983, because of offers from the PRC to provide $117 million over six years. The Republic of Macedonia recognized the ROC in 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.[68]

The Gambia recognized Taiwan from 1968 until 1974, and then once more from 1995 until 14 November 2013, when President Yahya Jammeh's office announced it had cut diplomatic ties with immediate effect.[69]

On March 18, 2014 Guatemalan former President Alfonso Portillo pleaded guilty in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, United States to a charge that he accepted bribes in exchange for diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. President Perez Molina said that Guatemala's relations with Taiwan were and are strong and that the Portillo confession will not affect the diplomatic relations between the two nations.[70] On Wednesday March 19, 2014 Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the matter.[71]

Cross-Strait relations

Relations between Taiwan and mainland China, or the argument between ROC and PRC on the legal ground of status quo ante,[72] as referring to the Double Tenth Agreement signed on 10 October 1945 as the only existing legal document between the two belligerents to this date, with the following Political Consultative Conference,[73] having been engulfed by Cold War history and the American foreign policy of containment in East Asia after the Korean War broke out by not "letting the dust settles of the Chinese Nationalist on Formosa".[74] Before the Korean War broke out, United States was preparing for a concerted coup d'état in mid-1950 to replace Chiang Kai-shek for Hu Shih and Sun Li-jen and neutralize Taiwan's legal status under UN Trusteeship to block any legal claim of the PRC on Taiwan, as proposed by United States Department of State official Dean Rusk at the time.[75][76][77] In 1955, Formosa Resolution of 1955[78] was passed unanimously by the United States Congress. Taiwan would take whatever it can to put aside the unification issue indefinitely, but China is not.[79] Resolving the cross-Strait relationship will take a very long time and will also probably require both sides to rethink definitions of basic concepts such as "one China", sovereignty and unification.[80]

In modern days, the two polities of accession [81] have resulted in the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries of People's Republic of China in Mainland China, the lifting of martial law (Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion) [82] by the Republic of China on the territory of the People's Republic of China, and more recently the enactment of Anti-Secession Law by People's Republic of China towards the Republic of China. The two sides have no cross-strait military confidence-building measures (CBM) "to improve military-to-military relations in ways that reduce fears of attack and the potential for military miscalculation." [83][84][85] Nuclear tensions have risen since the PRC promulgated the Anti-Secession Law against military intervention from United States of America on Taiwan independence.[86][87][88][89][90][91]

Neither Taipei nor Beijing 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 Taiwan and China to be different countries. By contrast, the pro-reunification Pan-Blue Coalition take the view 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".[92] The subsequent administrations of President Chen Shui-bian described Taiwan and China 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 government position of the early 1990s, calling relations with Beijing special relations between two areas within one state. That state according to Taiwan is the Republic of China, and due to constitutional reasons, neither Taipei nor Beijing recognises each other as a legitimate government.[93][94][95]

The term preferred by Taiwanese and Chinese governments is "cross-strait relations", referring to the geographical separator, the Taiwan Strait. The constitutional position of Taipei is that the territory of the Republic of China 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 Taiwan, 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, Taiwanese and Chinese governments do not directly interact. Talks are conducted by China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), 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 and Singapore also served as venues for talks between the two sides at that time. One modus vivendi outcome of such talks in neutral venues was the 1992 Consensus, arising from a meeting in Hong Kong in 1992. Under this consensus, the two sides agree that both Taiwan and mainland China are under the same single sovereignty of China, but the two sides agree to disagree on which side is the legitimate representative of that sovereignty. Setting aside that disagreement, the two sides agreed to co-operate on practical matters, such as recognising certifications authenticated by the other side.[96]

Relations between Taipei and Beijing have warmed since the election of President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang in 2008 as 2008 presidential election, with the promotion of cross-strait links and increased economic and social interchanges between the two sides, but with new implications from 2014 local elections will diverge the cross-strait relations.[97] Official high-level meeting was held on 11 February 2014 in Nanjing that marked the first time China recognized Taiwan's top government officials on matters across the Taiwan Strait.[98] The thawed tensions across the Taiwan Strait is not welcomed by the Pan-Green Coalition in Taiwan for the Taiwan independence movement after 2000 presidential election and to the ex injuria jus non oritur basis[99] of PRC's Anti-Secession Law to Taiwan. 2015 Ma–Xi meeting was held on 7 November 2015 to affirm the 1992 Consensus before 2016 general election and in the midst of U.S. Navy tests China's two governments (PRC and ROC) over sea claims.[100] Beijing said it had cut off contact with the main Taiwan liaison body because of President Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation, ratcheting up pressure on the new Taiwanese leader.[101]

Bilateral relations


Bangladesh has had limited bilateral exchanges with Taiwan since it declared independence in 1971, from China's ally Pakistan. Bangladesh is located at a pivotal position on the South Asian subcontinent between East India and Myanmar. Bangladesh, which is the second largest South Asian partner of Taiwan, witnessed bilateral trade jumped by 38% last year in spite of a global slump. Bangladesh mainly exports garments, knit wear, jutes, leathers and handicrafts to Taiwan and buy an assortment of textiles, machines, electronics, steels, plastics from the same. Trade with Bangladesh is expected to expand in the coming years as more Taiwanese companies set up manufacturing bases there.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso has recognized Taiwan since 1994.

South Korea

South Korea was the last Asian country that had an official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Republic of China recognized the formal establishment of the First Republic of the Republic of Korea in 1948. On 4 January 1949 the ROC set up an embassy in Myeongdong, Seoul Republic of Korea. However, on 23 August 1992 Taiwan severed diplomatic relations with South Korea in advance of their formal recognition of and establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Soon after Taiwan and South Korea established the unofficial tie.

United States

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Chiang Kai-shek of Republic of China in Taiwan. 1960.
Chiang Kai-shek and Eisenhower wave to crowd during visit to Taiwan in June 1960.

Commercial [102] (such as Trade and Investment Framework Agreement signed in 1994,[103] TIFA[104][105][106][107]), cultural, and other substantial relations of the existence of Taiwan between "the people of the United States" and "the people on Taiwan" are currently governed, inter alia, by the Taiwan Relations Act. The Act does not recognize the terminology of "Republic of China" after 1 January 1979 as US recognizes People's Republic of China instead of Republic of China.[108] With de-recognition of ROC, and acknowledging PRC's One China Policy, but not accepting PRC's claim on Taiwan,[109] the unofficial name of Taiwan has been mentioned in the Three Communiqués between the United States and China. Consistent with the United States' One China policy, Taiwan is not allowed to raise its national flag in the US soil, unless otherwise certain legal approval could be taken into consideration based on international law.[110][111] Taiwanese passport holders are included in the US Visa Waiver Program for the stay of 90 days that commences on 1 November 2012.[112] The United States of America does not support Taiwan Independence.[113] After 1979, US-Taiwan Business Council continues to provide the commercial avenue (mostly semiconductor technology related) and arms sales service from United States of America to Republic of China.[114][115][116][117][118][119][120] The United States House of Representatives added an amendment to the fiscal year 2016 US defence budget that includes a clause urging Taiwan's participation in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.[121] The United States State Department has close bilateral cooperation with Taiwan through Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Fulbright Program.[122][123][124] Recent disputes between the US and Taiwan include Taiwan's ban on the import of US beef and US pork, but it was resolved nevertheless after Taiwan relented Codex Alimentarius Commission, in which Taiwan is not a member of, adopted by the new standard of a narrow margin a maximum residue limit for ractopamine in both beef and pork.[125]

Similar positions on Taiwan are taken by a majority of countries. Twenty-three states recognize the ROC only. 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 Taiwan.[126] 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."[127]

A bill was also introduced by U.S. lawmakers to back the UN bid by Taiwan. 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 8 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.[128]

There have been no official diplomatic relations since 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., 12 other U.S. cities, and many other countries without official ties to the ROC. The Americans' analogous organization is the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). As of 2010, officials of the ROC have gained quasi-official level visits to the United States in the governmental and political level.[25][129]

Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia

President Muhammad Naguib with Chinese Muslim Kuomintang National Revolutionary Army General Ma Bufang
Republic of China Chinese Muslim National Revolutionary Army General Ma Bufang with the Kuomintang ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1955.
Ma Bufang and family in Egypt in 1954.

Egypt maintained relations until 1956, when Gamal Abdel Nasser cut off relations and established them with the People's Republic of China instead. Ma Bufang, who was then living in Egypt, then was ordered to move to Saudi Arabia, and became the ROC ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Wang Shi-ming was a Chinese Muslim, and the ROC ambassador to Kuwait.[130] The ROC also maintained relations with Libya, and Saudi Arabia.


Leadership meetings between Republic of China and India were carried out even before Indian independence from Great Britain in the early 1940s.[131] Taiwan is included in the Look East policy by India. The bilateral relations between India and Taiwan have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining official diplomatic relations.[132][133] India recognizes only the People's Republic of China. However, India's economic and commercial links as well as people-to-people contacts with Taiwan have expanded in recent years.[132] Like the People's Republic of China, Taiwan has border disputes with India over Arunachal Pradesh. The Constitution of the Republic of China declares this area a part of South Tibet, and disputes the validity of the McMahon Line based on which Arunachal Pradesh is presently a state of India.


Main article: China-Iran relations

On 1 June 1920, a friendship agreement was signed between the governments of China and Iran. Ratifications were exchanged on 6 February 1922, and the agreement went into effect on the same day.[134] These relations came to an end in 1971, and Tehran recognized Beijing.


Japan House of Representative Vice Speaker Seishiro Etō and President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

Japan-Taiwan relations are guided by the 1972 Japan-PRC Joint Communique. Japan has maintained non-governmental, working-level relations with Taiwan ever since.


The relations are conducted on an unofficial level as Kuala Lumpur has changed to a one-China policy in 1974 and only recognised the People's Republic of China. However, economic and cultural relations are still maintained with Malaysia has a trade centre office in Taipei,[135] and Taiwan has an economic and cultural office in Kuala Lumpur.[136]


Until 1945 Nationalist China claimed sovereignty over Mongolia, but under Soviet pressure and as part of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance of August 1945, it recognized Mongolian independence. In 1953, due to the deterioration of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, it revoked this recognition and kept considering it a part of mainland China.[137][138]

On 3 October 2002 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Taiwan recognizes Mongolia as an independent country,[139] although no legislative actions were taken to address concerns over its constitutional claims to Mongolia.[140] A Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office was opened in Ulaanbaatar, and Taipei 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. Offices established to support Taipei's claims over Outer Mongolia, such as the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission,[141] lie dormant.[142][143] 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).[144] The official status of recognition is currently ambiguous, though in practice Mongolia is treated as an ordinary foreign power.


Paraguay President Horacio Cartes and President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

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.[145]

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 Beijing to switch diplomatic recognition.[146] However, the Taiwanese ambassador, Wang Sheng, and his diplomats were able to convince the Paraguayans that continuing the relationship with Taiwan, and thus keeping Taiwan's development assistance and access to Taiwan's markets, would be more advantageous for Paraguay.


The Philippines recognizes the One China Policy but has relations with Taiwan through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila. Both offices were established in 1975 and were organized as non-profit and non-stock private corporations. The Philippines is the focal country for Taiwan's 2016 Southbound Policy.


In the Chinese Civil War, the Soviet Union had a tumultuous yet strategic relations with the Kuomintang-led Nationalist China until 1949 with the proclamation of the People's Republic of China and the subsequent military takeover of Mainland China by the Chinese Communist Party. In the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev recommended the internationalization of the Taiwan Question and appealed to the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to erase the crisis, further, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union called for the Ten Nations Summit in New Delhi to discuss the issue and eradicate the military tension on 27 September 1958 and undermined as one of the precursors of the latter Sino-Soviet split.[147] Since the formation of the Russian Federation, Taiwan has exported many ferric materials to Russia in 2004–2005. In 2005, the total amount of the trade between the two economies was $2,188,944,473. Russia also has a representative office in Taipei,[148] and Republic of China has a representative office in Moscow.[149] According to the data, Russia keeps a positive balance in its trade relations with Taiwan mainly from 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 countries cooperate closely and intensely by establishing unofficial diplomatic relations since 1993~1996. Taipei is targeting Russia for exporting opportunities and marketing potentials and this mutually-beneficial relationship is effective, especially under the framework of APEC.[150]


Singapore had maintained unofficial relations with both the ROC and the PRC until 1992. It was decided in the Second Ministerial Meeting of APEC as chaired by Singapore in 1990 for the inclusion of the ROC commencing from the Third Ministerial Meeting in Seoul.[151] After the establishment of diplomatic ties between Singapore and PRC on 3 October 1992, it continues to maintain close economic and military ties with Taiwan 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 China and Singapore when Lee Hsien Loong visited Taiwan a month before being sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Singapore on 12 August 2004.[152] Singapore's Ministry of Defence took great pains to correct an erroneous report in the Liberty Times on a joint military exercise between the Singapore and Taiwan in March 2005.[153] 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.[154][155] On the issue of United Nations participation for Taiwan, there was a heated exchange of views between George Yeo and Mark Chen in 2004 between the two Foreign Ministers of the two countries.[156] On the economic front, with Beijing's insistence that FTA can only be concluded among sovereign states, under a different name by the Ma Administration of ROC, Singapore and Taiwan signed the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP) on November 2013.[157][158]


Taiwan has an embassy in Mbabane. On 7 June 2016, the National Police Agency and Royal Swaziland Police Service signed a joint cross-border crime fighting pact, which included the stepping up of intelligence exchanges, probe, personnel visits, professional skills enhancement, law enforcement and technical assistance.[159]


Vanuatu recognises the People's Republic of China. In November 2004, Prime Minister Serge Vohor briefly established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, before being ousted for that reason in a vote of no confidence the following month.[160][161]


In 2007 Venezuela decided not to renew visas for five members of the ROC commercial representation in Caracas.[162] Relations with Venezuela have worsened because of the increasing partnership between the government of Venezuela and China.


ROC–Vietnam relations are conducted on an unofficial level, as Hanoi adheres to a one-China policy and officially recognises the People's Republic of China only. However, this has not stopped bilateral visits and significant flows of migrants and investment capital between the ROC and Vietnam.[163] The ROC is an important foreign direct investment partner to Vietnam.[164]

Vietnam is the only communist country that has an unofficial foreign relationship with the ROC.


The ROC maintains diplomatic relations with six countries in Oceania: Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. 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 Beijing and Taipei, 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, ROC allies support its membership bid in the United Nations. The ROC is one of Tuvalu and Nauru's most important economic partners.

In May 2008, ROC 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 ROC from Papua New Guinea. The misuse of the money caused public outrage, forcing Huang's resignation.[165] Papua New Guinea's foreign minister Sam Abal subsequently confirmed that his country had no intention of recognising the ROC.[166]

In September 2006, the first regional summit of all Taiwan's Pacific Island allies took place, and was hosted by Palau, in Koror. The meeting brought together ROC President Chen Shui-bian and delegates from the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.[167] It was to become a regular event, known as the Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit.[168][169] A second regional meeting was hosted by the Marshall Islands in October, and President Chen attended.[170] This resulted in the Majuro Declaration, in which Taiwan's six Pacific allies re-stated their recognition of the ROC's sovereignty, and promised to support the ROC's attempts to join the United Nations.[171]

Also in June 2007, the ROC donated an aid package of 700,000, distributed among eight Pacific regional organisations.[172]

In January 2008, following the victory of the Kuomintang in the ROC's elections, Kuomintang MP Yang Li-huan stated that under the new government Taiwan's interest in the Pacific could decrease.[173] Three days later, however, it was confirmed that ROC Vice-President Annette Lu would lead a diplomatic visit to the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Solomon Islands.[174]

In March 2008, new President-elect Ma Ying-jeou was reported as saying that his government would put an end to Taiwanese "cheque-book diplomacy" in the Pacific (or more specifically, similar to the condition of cestui que use diplomacy).[175] In May of that same year, Ma called 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. This followed a scandal due to allegations that Taiwan's Foreign Minister James Huang had attempted to buy Papua New Guinea's diplomatic allegiance.[176] In October, Taiwan cancelled a scheduled summit between itself and its Pacific Island allies. Although the authorities cited "preparation problems", Radio Australia commented that "the decision appears to be an attempt by the new administration of President Ma Ying-jeou to keep the island's diplomatic activities low-profile and avoid offending China".[177] Taiwanese authorities later stated that the summit had been "postponed" rather than cancelled.[178] In June 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that President Ma would "attend a [...] leadership summit between Taiwan and its South Pacific allies" in autumn. The summit, hosted by Solomon Islands, would be attended by the "heads of state of Taiwan’s six allies in the region" and would focus on "countering the current economic contraction, climate change and how to strengthen the fisheries industry". Upon announcing the summit, the Ministry added that Ma had "developed a fondness for the Pacific region during his previous visit to Solomon Islands when he saw a handful of children at a market selling betel nuts and watermelons while wearing shirts donated by the people of Taiwan".[179]

In July 2009, the ROC donated over €40,000 in a scholarship scheme benefiting students from a number of Pacific countries, including those -such as Fiji or Papua New Guinea- which do not grant it diplomatic recognition. It also donated €288,000 for regional development assistance programmes, to be used notably on access to water, sanitation and hygiene, renewable energy, solar photovoltaic assessments, fisheries management, education and youth training.[180]

Taiwan has asked to be recognised as an official dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum. That status is currently awarded to the PRC.[181]

Ma Ying-jeou, the President of the Republic of China is calling for what he referred to as a "cease-fire" in the competition between ROC and PRC for diplomatic allies.[176] On 10 July 2013, New Zealand and Republic of China (Taiwan) signed a bilateral Economic Cooperation Agreement.[182][183]


In February 2008, Australia reportedly "chastised Taiwan for its renewed push for independence" and "reiterated its support for a one-China policy".[184] For Australia-Taiwan relations that Australia does not object Taiwan's participation in international organization where such consensus has already achieved,[185] and Australia-Taiwan relations are commercially and unofficially-driven, such as the Australia-Taiwan Business Council, which is based in Sydney,[186] and with the understanding of people-to-people contacts in areas of education, science, sports and arts, see.[187][188][189][190]

Taiwan is unofficially represented in Australia by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canberra (which also has branches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) while Australia is similarly represented by the Australian Office in Taipei. Taiwan also has an official, government co-sponsored branch office of Taiwan External Trade Development Council in Sydney.[191] The Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong is responsible for Visa and Citizenship matters for applicants in Taiwan.[192] Perth has sister city relations with Taipei City and Brisbane has sister city relations with Kaohsiung City.[193][194]


Kiribati President Taneti Mamau and President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

Kiribati, under the current government of President Taneti Mamau, recognises the Republic of China.

From 1980 to 2003, Kiribati recognised the PRC. Relations between China and Kiribati then became a contentious political issue within Kiribati. I-Kiribati President Teburoro Tito was ousted in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in 2003, over his refusal to clarify the details of a land lease which had enabled Beijing to maintain a satellite-tracking station in the country since 1997, and over Chinese ambassador Ma Shuxue's acknowledged monetary donation to "a cooperative society linked to Tito".[195] In the ensuing election, Anote Tong won the presidency after "stirring suspicions that the station was being used to spy on US installations in the Pacific".[196] Tong had previously pledged to "review" the lease.[197]

In November 2003, Tarawa established diplomatic relations with Taipei -a decision which The Age referred to as "play[ing] the Taiwan card"[196]-, and Beijing severed its relations with the country. For the PRC, the presence of the satellite-tracking station had made relations with Kiribati relatively important; the station had, in particular, been used to track Yang Liwei's spaceflight.[198] Therefore, for three weeks the PRC called upon I-Kiribati President Anote Tong to break off relations with Taiwan and re-affirm his support for the "One China" policy. Only after those three weeks did the PRC sever relations,[199] thereby losing the right to maintain its satellite-tracking base in Kiribati. The Republic of China began providing economic aid to Kiribati, while Kiribati began supporting Taiwan in the United Nations.

In 2004, President Tong said he believed the PRC was still trying to exert influence over his country.[200] The comment was mainly due to the PRC's refusal to remove all its personnel from its closed embassy.[198] Tong stated that the Chinese personnel, who remained in Kiribati against his wishes, were handing out anti-government pamphlets; he told New Zealand journalist Michael Field: "I am sure if we did this in Beijing we would be in jail in half a second".[201] Tong's brother and main political opponent, Harry Tong, responded by accusing Taiwan of having too much influence on Kiribati, and notably of influencing the country's clergy.[200]

In 2008, Taiwan settled Kiribati's unpaid bills to Air Pacific, enabling the airline to maintain its services from Tarawa to Kiritimati.[202]

In November 2010, despite their lack of diplomatic relations, the People's Republic of China was one of fifteen countries to attend the Tarawa Climate Change Conference in Kiribati, and one of twelve to sign the Ambo Declaration on climate change issued from the conference.[203]

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands recognise the Republic of China and maintain an embassy in Taipei. The magazine Islands Business reported that President Litokwa Tomeing, elected in January 2008, might break off his country's diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and turn instead to the PRC.[204] However, in office Tomeing expressed continued support for ties with Taiwan and met with the Vice President of the ROC, Annette Lu, when she visited the Marshall Islands on 29 January 2008.[205]


Nauru President Baron Waqa and President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

Nauru, under the current government of President Baron Waqa, recognises the Republic of China.

In 1980, established official relations with the Republic of China. In 2002, however, the government of Rene Harris established relations with the PRC,[206] which entailed a solemn recognition of the "One China" policy by Nauru.[207] Consequently, Taiwan severed its relations with Nauru, and accused the PRC of having bought Nauru's allegiance with a financial aid gift of over €90,000,000.[208] A reporter for The Age agreed, stating that "Beijing recently bought off a threat by Nauru to revert to Taiwan only six months after opening ties with the mainland, offering a large loan to Nauru's near-destitute Government".[196]

In 2003, however, Nauru closed its newly established embassy in Beijing. Two years later, ROC President Chen Shui-bian met Nauruan President Ludwig Scotty in the Marshall Islands. In May 2005, the ROC and Nauru re-established diplomatic relations,[209] and opened embassies in each other's capitals. The PRC consequently severed its relations with Nauru.

The Republic of China is one of Nauru's two foremost economic aid partners (the other being Australia). In return, Nauru uses its seat in the United Nations to support the ROC's admittance bid. Taiwan also provides regular medical assistance to Nauru, sending specialised doctors to the tiny country's only hospital.[210]

In 2007, Scotty was re-elected President of Nauru, amidst claims that his electoral campaign had been funded by Taiwan.[211] Scotty's opponents claimed that the ROC wanted to ensure that a pro-Taiwan government remained in power. Scotty was replaced by Marcus Stephen in December 2007. Following Stephen's election, ROC President Chen Shui-bian telephoned him to congratulate him, assure him of the ROC's continued assistance for Nauru, request Nauru's continued support in return, and invite him to visit Taiwan.[212] Nauru has retained its relations with the ROC under the new government.

Given that it has already changed its foreign policy twice, Nauru remains the focus of diplomatic competition between Beijing and Taipei. In 2006, according to the New Statesman, President Scotty "was allegedly accosted by a horde of screaming Chinese officials who tried to drag him on to a plane to Beijing just as he was boarding one bound for Taipei".[213]

In 2008, Nauru co-submitted a proposal to the United Nations, requesting that the United Nations General Assembly consider enabling "Taiwan's participation in the activities of UN specialized agencies". The proposal was rejected.[214]

In 2011 it was revealed via Wikileaks that Taiwan had been paying a "monthly stipend" to Nauruan government ministers in exchange for their continued support, as well as a smaller sum to other Members of Parliament, as "project funding that requires minimal accounting". Reporting on the story, the Brisbane Times wrote: "One MP reportedly used his Taiwanese stipend to buy daily breakfast for all schoolchildren in his district, while others were happy to just pocket the cash". A "former Australian diplomat with close knowledge of politics in Nauru" stated that Nauruan President Marcus Stephen, Foreign Minister Kieren Keke and former President Ludwig Scotty, among others, had all accepted "under the counter" funding from Taiwan. The leaks revealed that "Chinese [PRC] agents had also sought to influence Nauru's elections through cash payments to voters, with at least $40,000 distributed in one instance in 2007".[215]

Wikileaks also revealed that Australia had, at one time, been "pushing" Nauru to break its relations with Taiwan and establish relations with the PRC instead. Then President Ludwig Scotty had reportedly resisted on the grounds that it was "none of Australia's business".[215]

In late 2011, Taiwan "doubled it health aid" to Nauru, notably providing a resident medical team on a five-year appointment.[216]


Palau President Tommy Remengesau and President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

Palau recognises the Republic of China, and is one of the few countries to maintain an embassy in Taipei. ROC maintains an embassy in Koror.[217] The ROC provides scholarships to Palauan students, as well as computers for Palauan schools. In 2008, Mario Katosang, Palau’s Minister of Education, stated:

We were given 100 Windows-based computers by Taiwan. The education sector uses predominately [sic] Apple Macintosh computers, so I mentioned that we may also need software. Taiwan immediately delivered 100 brand new copies of Windows XP, and offered to train our computer technicians.[218]

Papua New Guinea

In 1999, the government of Prime Minister Bill Skate recognised Taiwan. Skate lost power less than a week later, and Papua New Guinea's diplomatic recognition reverted to China.[219]

In 2005, Papua New Guinea, along with Fiji, supported Taiwan's wish to join the World Health Organization.

In May 2008, Taiwan's Foreign Minister James Huang resigned, along with two other top officials, 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.[220] Papua New Guinea's foreign minister Sam Abal subsequently confirmed that his country had no intention of recognising Taiwan.[166]

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands recognises the Republic of China, and is one of the few countries to maintain an embassy in Taipei. The two countries established diplomatic relations on 23 May 1983.[221] A Republic of China consulate general was set up in Honiara, and upgraded to an embassy two years later.[222] Since 2011, the Republic of China's ambassador to the Solomons is Laurie Chan, a Solomon Islands national of Chinese ethnic background, and a former Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs who supported his country's continued relations with Taiwan.[223]

Despite a lack of diplomatic recognition, however, Solomon Islands trades more with the People's Republic than with Taiwan. In 2009, over half the country's exports went to the People's Republic of China, and Solomon Islands maintained a trade surplus of A$161m in its trade relations with that country. In 2010, that surplus increased to a record A$258.[224]

In 2006, Honiara's Chinatown suffered extensive damage as it was looted and burned by rioters, following a contested election result. It had been alleged that ethnic Chinese businessmen had bribed members of Solomon Islands' Parliament.[225] Joses Tuhanuku, President of the Solomon Islands Labour Party, stated that the election "has been corrupted by Taiwan and business houses owned by Solomon Islanders of Chinese origin".[226] Many Chinese-Solomon Islanders left the country.

After pro-Taiwan Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was ousted in a vote of no confidence in December 2007, and replaced by Derek Sikua, ROC President Chen Shui-bian telephoned Prime Minister Sikua, offering his congratulations and Taiwan's continued aid, and requested the Sikua government's continued diplomatic support. Chen also invited Sikua to visit Taiwan,[212] which he did in March 2008. Sikua was welcomed with military honours by Chen, who stated: "Taiwan is the Solomon Islands' most loyal ally. [...] Taiwan will never forsake the people or government of the Solomon Islands."[227] Solomon Islands has continued to recognise the Republic of China under Sikua's leadership.

Later that same month, Taiwan's president-elect Dr. Ma Ying-Jeou met Australia's former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, and reportedly promised to put an end to Taiwanese "cheque book diplomacy" in the Solomons. This led Downer to comment: "Under the Chen Shui-bian regime there has been a lot of Taiwanese cheque book diplomacy in Solomon Islands. So I'm glad to hear that's coming to an end."[228] Sikua, however, criticised Downer for interfering in relations between Honiara and Taipei:

“The Government of Solomon Islands will continue to work closely with the Government of Taiwan and other development partners as it strives to provide a better quality of life for its people. I hope that Mr Downer will find something more appropriate to comment on than on issues that are within the sovereign jurisdiction of independent states and governments to deal with and decide on.”[229]

The editor of the Solomon Star reacted irritably to Downer's comments:

"Just when we thought he’s gone and good riddance, he’s back. Alexander Downer is now in Taipei and telling the Taiwanese how to run their relations with the Solomon Islands. [...] Just who does Mr Downer think he is? [...] Relations between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands are none of this yesterday man’s business. Taipei should tell Mr Downer to butt out."[230]

The Taiwanese government subsequently stated, through its deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Victor Yu, that Downer had "misunderstood" Ma:

"Cooperation and development programs are an obligation and the responsibility of every advanced nation in the international community. They should not be described as 'checkbook diplomacy'. [...] All the resources that the nation has contributed are project-oriented and have generated substantial positive effects on the local economy and on society. Downer distorted what Ma actually meant."[231]

On 17 April 2008, the editorial of the Solomon Star was devoted to the Solomons' relationship with Taiwan, which it described as follows:

"First, thanks to Taiwan, for all the support it is providing to help bring better health services here. There’s always suspicion about Taiwan’s aid in this country despite the fine sounding intentions under which it is given. [...] Our politicians undoubtedly exploit Taiwan’s need to keep Solomon Islands as one of the nations recognising it as a country in its own right. But there should be no doubts about this week’s launch of the Taiwan Medical Centre at the National Referral Hospital. This is tangible, beneficial and transparent help. It underscores Taiwan’s role as a true, democratic friend of Solomon Islands. May there be more such help given this way."[232]

In July, it was announced that Taiwanese doctors would be providing free medical care to Solomon Islands villagers,[233] and that unskilled Solomon Islands workers would be granted access to the Taiwanese labour market.[234] At the same time, Taiwan was funding rural development projects in the Solomons.[235] Taiwan has also pledged to provide SI$ 10 million to Solomon Islands in 2009 and 2010, to enable the government to abolish school fees paid by parents and provide free primary and secondary education to Solomon Islands children.[236]

During the campaign for the 2010 general election, candidate and former Prime Minister Francis Billy Hilly announced that, if elected, he would break off relations with the ROC and establish them with the PRC. Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, of the University of Hawaii, commented that Taiwan funded constituency development programmes in the Solomons, and that Members of Parliament were thus unlikely to support any severing of diplomatic relations with the ROC.[237] Billy Hilly was unsuccessful in regaining a seat in Parliament.


Tuvalu recognises the Republic of China (RoC). Taiwan maintains the only resident foreign embassy in Tuvalu. This is located in Funafuti.

Tuvalu supports the RoC's bid to join the United Nations, and Taiwan has provided Tuvalu with "several mobile medical missions".[238]

In 2006, Taiwan reacted to reports that the People's Republic of China was attempting to draw Tuvalu away from the Republic of China. Taiwan consequently strengthened its weakening diplomatic relations with Tuvalu.[239]

Relations with Europe

The European Union has earnestly emphasized human rights in its relations with ROC.[240] European Union is the largest source of foreign direct investment to Taiwan.[241][242] The European Union has unofficial relations[243] with Taiwan through European Economic and Trade Office which was opened on 10 March 2003.[244] Taipei is one of the major trading partners with European Free Trade Association,[245] and in sum a potential trading partner with the Eurozone.[246] The European Parliament voted 559 votes to 40 with 13 abstentions and approved Taiwanese passport holders with identity card number are exempted and do not require Schengen visa whilst visiting the Schengen Area on 11 November 2010 with similar Schengen granting to Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and reciprocally the ROC exempted visa for individuals from the Schengen Area.[247][248][249] For the debate concerning EU-Taiwan relations in the European Parliament, see.[250] Sixteen member states of the European Union have established offices in Taipei, and several functional offices have been established by different member states.[251] Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium is the unofficial diplomatic representation of Taiwan in the EU.[252] British relations with Taiwan [253] with the formality of British Trade and Cultural Office[254] and the British Council in Taipei of United Kingdom are represented in Republic of China. Chinese Taipei is an observer [255][256][257] in the OECD, which is headquartered in Paris, France. ROC's Civil Service Protection and Training Commission (CSPTC) and the Belgian Training Institute of the Federal Administration (TIFA) signed Memorandum of Understanding on 7 November 2014 for workshop attendance of public servants that highlighted leadership, innovation and conflict management, as well as global competitiveness strategies in Brussels.[258][259]

Relations with international organizations

Flag of Chinese Taipei in the official Olympics games

Under pressure from the People's Republic of China, the ROC has been excluded from, or downgraded in, many international organizations. In other cases, ROC may retain full participation, due to the usage of names such as "Chinese Taipei" or "Taiwan, China".

Below is a list of such international organizations and the names by which Taiwan is known:

International treaties

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Taiwan has been a party to several major international treaties, including:

Territorial disputes

ROC 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, ROC 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. ROC also claims the Senkaku Islands, which is administered by Japan.

The People's Republic of China, in turn, asserts itself as the sole legitimate government of China, and claims all territories administered by ROC.

Transport and communications

A China Airlines Boeing 747-400 in old livery, bearing the ROC flag.

The dispute over Taiwan'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 Taiwan's national airline, China Airlines (CAL), served many international destinations that CAL did not because of political sensitivities. However, in 1995 CAL dropped the 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, Air France Asie operated flights to Paris while Qantas had a subsidiary called Australia Asia Airlines, which operated flights to Sydney. Other countries' flag carriers, such as Germany's Lufthansa, operated flights to Taipei using an existing subsidiary (in Lufthansa's case, Condor).

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. All Nippon Airways, however, used an existing subsidiary, Air Nippon.

As of July 2008, charter flights between mainland China and Taiwan, which were traditionally only allowed on special holidays such as Chinese New Year, were expanded greatly. 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 Taiwan was not an ITU member state, it had to be allocated the code +886 unofficially, with the ITU listing the code as 'reserved' until 2006.[537] However, in that year, it formally allocated the code to "Taiwan, China".[538] Until the late 1970s, Taiwan used the code 866, but the 86 code was reassigned to the People's Republic of China in conformity with the ITU's official membership, forcing Taiwan to utilize another code for countries that wished to maintain direct dial connections.[539]

Codes in the +86 6 number range have now been allocated to cities in Mainland China; for example, the area code for Yangjiang is 0662.[540] Calls from Mainland China to Taiwan are still made by using the international prefix 00886.[541]

See also


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Further reading

Hu, S. “Small State Foreign Policy: The Diplomatic Recognition of Taiwan,” China: An International Journal, Vol 13, No. 2 (August 2015): pp. 1–23.

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