Introduction :: Taiwan


First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). In 1895, military defeat forced China’s Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which then governed Taiwan for 50 years. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) control after World War II. With the communist victory in the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Nationalist-controlled Republic of China government and 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and continued to claim to be the legitimate government for mainland China and Taiwan based on a 1947 Constitution drawn up for all of China. Until 1987, however, the Nationalist government ruled Taiwan under a civil war martial law declaration dating to 1948. Beginning in the 1970s, Nationalist authorities gradually began to incorporate the native population into the governing structure beyond the local level. The democratization process expanded rapidly in the 1980s, leading to the then illegal founding of Taiwans first opposition party (the Democratic Progressive Party or DPP) in 1986 and the lifting of martial law the following year. Taiwan held legislative elections in 1992, the first in over forty years, and its first direct presidential election in 1996. In the 2000 presidential elections, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power with the KMT loss to the DPP and afterwards experienced two additional democratic transfers of power in 2008 and 2016. Throughout this period, the island prospered, became one of East Asia’s economic “Tigers,” and after 2000 became a major investor in mainland China as cross-Strait ties matured. The dominant political issues continue to be economic reform and growth as well as management of sensitive relations between Taiwan and China.

Geography :: Taiwan


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


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


1,566.3 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); persistent and extensive cloudiness all year


eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west


mean elevation: 1,150 m

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m

Natural resources

small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, asbestos, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 22.7% (2011 est.)

arable land: 16.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 5.8% (2011 est.)

other: 77.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,820 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

distribution exhibits a peripheral coastal settlement pattern, with the largest populations on the north and west coasts

Natural hazards

earthquakes; typhoons

volcanism: Kueishantao Island (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

People and Society :: Taiwan


23,603,049 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Taiwan (singular and plural)

adjective: Taiwan (or Taiwanese)

note: example – he or she is from Taiwan; they are from Taiwan

Ethnic groups

Han Chinese (including Hoklo, who compose approximately 70% of Taiwan’s population, Hakka, and other groups originating in mainland China) more than 95%, indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples 2.3%
note 1: there are 16 officially recognized indigenous groups: Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Hla’alua, Kanakaravu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami; Amis, Paiwan, and Atayal are the largest and account for roughly 70% of the indigenous population

note 2: although not definitive, the majority of current genetic, archeological, and linguistic data support the theory that Taiwan is the ultimate source for the spread of humans across the Pacific to Polynesia; the expansion (ca. 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1200) took place via the Philippines and eastern Indonesia and reached Fiji and Tonga by about 900 B.C.; from there voyagers spread across all of the rest of the Pacific islands over the next two millennia


Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min Nan), Hakka dialects, approximately 16 indigenous languages


Buddhist 35.3%, Taoist 33.2%, Christian 3.9%, folk (includes Confucian) approximately 10%, none or unspecified 18.2% (2005 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 40

youth dependency ratio: 17.8

elderly dependency ratio: 22.2

potential support ratio: 4.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.3 years

male: 41.5 years

female: 43.1 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.11% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

distribution exhibits a peripheral coastal settlement pattern, with the largest populations on the north and west coasts


urban population: 78.9% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

4.398 million New Taipei City, 2.721 million TAIPEI (capital), 2.245 million Taoyuan, 1.538 million Kaohsiung, 1.321 million Taichung, 850,000 Tainan (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.2 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.6 years

male: 77.5 years

female: 83.9 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.14 children born/woman (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS – deaths


Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.5%

male: 99.7%

female: 97.3% (2014)

Government :: Taiwan

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: Taiwan

former: Formosa

etymology: “Tayowan” was the name of the coastal sandbank where the Dutch erected their colonial headquarters on the island in the 17th century; the former name “Formosa” means “beautiful” in Portuguese

Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Taipei

geographic coordinates: 25 02 N, 121 31 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the Chinese meaning is “Northern Taiwan,” reflecting the city’s position in the far north of the island

Administrative divisions

includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China’s Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 13 counties (xian, singular and plural), 3 cities (shi, singular and plural), and 6 special municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan

counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taitung, Yilan, Yunlin

cities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung

special municipalities: Kaohsiung (city), New Taipei (city), Taichung (city), Tainan (city), Taipei (city), Taoyuan (city)

note: Taiwan uses a variety of romanization systems; while a modified Wade-Giles system still dominates, the city of Taipei has adopted a Pinyin romanization for street and place names within its boundaries; other local authorities use different romanization systems

National holiday

Republic Day (National Day), 10 October (1911); note – celebrates the anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, also known as Double Ten (10-10) Day


history: previous 1912, 1931; latest adopted 25 December 1946, promulgated 1 January 1947, effective 25 December 1947

amendments: proposed by at least one fourth of the Legislative Yuan membership; passage requires approval by at least three-fourths majority vote of at least three fourths of the Legislative Yuan membership and approval in a referendum by more than half of eligible voters; revised several times, last in 2005

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Taiwan

dual citizenship recognized: yes, except that citizens of Taiwan are not recognized as dual citizens of the People’s Republic of China

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


20 years of age; universal; note – in mid-2016, the Legislative Yuan drafted a constitutional amendment to reduce the voting age to 18, but it has not passed as of December 2017

Executive branch

chief of state: President TSAI Ing-wen (since 20 May 2016; re-elected on 11 Jan 2020); Vice President CHEN Chien-jen (since 20 May 2016)

head of government: Premier SU Tseng-chang (President of the Executive Yuan) (since 11 January 2019); Vice Premier SHIH Jun-ji, Vice President of the Executive Yuan (since 8 September 2017)

cabinet: Executive Yuan – ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 January 2020 (next to be held on 11 January 2024); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
election results: TSAI Ing-wen elected president; percent of vote – TSAI Ing-wen (DPP) 57.1%, HAN Kuo-yu (KMT) 38.6%; note – TSAI is the first woman elected president of Taiwan

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats; 73 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 34 directly elected in a single island-wide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat aboriginal constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 11 January 2020 (next to be held on 11 January 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party – Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 34.0%, Kuomintang (KMT) 33.4%, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) 11.2%; seats by party – DPP 61, KMT 38, TPP 5

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and approximately 100 judges organized into 8 civil and 12 criminal divisions, each with a division chief justice and 4 associate justices); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 13 justices)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices appointed by the president; Constitutional Court justices appointed by the president, with approval of the Legislative Yuan; Supreme Court justices serve for life; Constitutional Court justices appointed for 8-year terms, with half the membership renewed every 4 years

subordinate courts: high courts; district courts; hierarchy of administrative courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [CHO Jung-tai]
Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [WU Den-yih]
New Power Party or NPP [CHIU Hsien-chih]
Non-Partisan Solidarity Union or NPSU [LIN Pin-kuan]
People First Party or PFP [James SOONG Chu-yu]

International organization participation

ADB (Taipei, China), APEC (Chinese Taipei), BCIE, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), SICA (observer), WTO (Taipei, China);
note – separate customs territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu

Diplomatic representation in the US

none; commercial and cultural relations with its citizens in the US are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts, represented by Stanley KAO (since 5 June 2016); office: 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016; telephone: [1] 202 895-1800
Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (branch offices): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver (CO), Houston, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: the US does not have an embassy in Taiwan; commercial and cultural relations with the people of Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts; it is managed by Director William Brent CHRISTENSEN (since 11 August 2018); telephone [886] 7-335-5006; FAX [886] 7-338-0551

office: #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, Taipei 10659, Taiwan

other offices: Kaohsiung (Branch Office)

Flag description

red field with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays; the blue and white design of the canton (symbolizing the sun of progress) dates to 1895; it was later adopted as the flag of the Kuomintang Party; blue signifies liberty, justice, and democracy, red stands for fraternity, sacrifice, and nationalism, and white represents equality, frankness, and the people’s livelihood; the 12 rays of the sun are those of the months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours (each ray equals two hours)

note: similar to the flag of Samoa

National symbol(s)

white, 12-rayed sun on blue field; national colors: blue, white, red

National anthem

name: “Zhonghua Minguo guoge” (National Anthem of the Republic of China)

lyrics/music: HU Han-min, TAI Chi-t’ao, and LIAO Chung-k’ai/CHENG Mao-Yun

note: adopted 1930; also the song of the Kuomintang Party; it is informally known as “San Min Chu I” or “San Min Zhu Yi” (Three Principles of the People); because of political pressure from China, “Guo Qi Ge” (National Banner Song) is used at international events rather than the official anthem of Taiwan; the “National Banner Song” has gained popularity in Taiwan and is commonly used during flag raisings

Economy :: Taiwan

Economy – overview

Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy that is driven largely by industrial manufacturing, and especially exports of electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals. This heavy dependence on exports exposes the economy to fluctuations in global demand. Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, rapidly aging population, and increasing competition from China and other Asia Pacific markets are other major long-term challenges.

Following the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China in June 2010, Taiwan in July 2013 signed a free trade deal with New Zealand – Taipeis first-ever with a country with which it does not maintain diplomatic relations – and, in November of that year, inked a trade pact with Singapore. However, follow-on components of the ECFA, including a signed agreement on trade in services and negotiations on trade in goods and dispute resolution, have stalled. In early 2014, the government bowed to public demand and proposed a new law governing the oversight of cross-Strait agreements, before any additional deals with China are implemented; the legislature has yet to vote on such legislation, leaving the future of ECFA uncertain. President TSAI since taking office in May 2016 has promoted greater economic integration with South and Southeast Asia through the New Southbound Policy initiative and has also expressed interest in Taiwan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as bilateral trade deals with partners such as the US. These overtures have likely played a role in increasing Taiwans total exports, which rose 11% during the first half of 2017, buoyed by strong demand for semiconductors.

Taiwan’s total fertility rate of just over one child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan’s population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 expected to account for nearly 20% of the island’s total population by 2025.

The island runs a trade surplus with many economies, including China and the US, and its foreign reserves are the world’s fifth largest, behind those of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. In 2006, China overtook the US to become Taiwan’s second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island’s number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taiwan since 2009 has gradually loosened rules governing Chinese investment and has also secured greater market access for its investors on the mainland. In August 2012, the Taiwan Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cross-Strait currency settlement with its Chinese counterpart. The MOU allows for the direct settlement of Chinese renminbi (RMB) and the New Taiwan dollar across the Strait, which has helped Taiwan develop into a local RMB hub.

Closer economic links with the mainland bring opportunities for Taiwans economy but also pose challenges as political differences remain unresolved and Chinas economic growth is slowing. President TSAIs administration has made little progress on the domestic economic issues that loomed large when she was elected, including concerns about stagnant wages, high housing prices, youth unemployment, job security, and financial security in retirement. TSAI has made more progress on boosting trade with South and Southeast Asia, which may help insulate Taiwans economy from a fall in mainland demand should Chinas growth slow in 2018.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.189 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.156 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.14 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$572.6 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

2.9% (2017 est.)
1.4% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$50,500 (2017 est.)
$49,100 (2016 est.)
$48,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

34.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
35.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 53% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 65.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -52.6% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 36% (2017 est.)

services: 62.1% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

rice, vegetables, fruit, tea, flowers; pigs, poultry; fish


electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals

Industrial production growth rate

3.9% (2017 est.)

Labor force

11.78 million (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 4.9%

industry: 35.9%

services: 59.2% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

3.8% (2017 est.)
3.9% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line

1.5% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 6.4% (2010)
highest 10%: 40.3% (2010)


revenues: 91.62 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 92.03 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

16% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

35.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
36.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data for central government

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.1% (2017 est.)
1% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

$82.88 billion (2017 est.)
$72.78 billion (2016 est.)


$329.5 billion (2019)

Exports – partners

China 27.9%, US 14.1%, Hong Kong 12.3%, Japan 7.1%, Singapore 5.5%, South Korea 5.1% (2019)

Exports – commodities

semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers


$285.9 billion (2019)

Imports – commodities

oil/petroleum, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles

Imports – partners

China 20.1%, Japan 15.4%, US 12.3%, South Korea 6.2% (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$456.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$439 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$181.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$172.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar –
30.68 (2017 est.)
32.325 (2016 est.)
32.325 (2015 est.)
31.911 (2014 est.)
30.363 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Taiwan

Electricity – production

246.1 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

237.4 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

49.52 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

79% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

4% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

6% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

196 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

846,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

2.38 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

924,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

962,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

349,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

418,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

237.9 million cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

22.45 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

22.14 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

6.229 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

348.8 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Taiwan

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 13,174,334

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 29,340,886

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: good telecommunications infrastructure and competitive mobile market; Taiwan has a stable regulatory system and an educated workforce building on availability of fixed and mobile broadband networks; investors attracted to this excellent telecom infrastructure; fixed-line will decline in the next 5 years; 6 mobile network operators; 4G LTE service; regulator begins multi-spectrum auction for 5G services; govt. to release NT $20.5 billion to encourage development of 5G services (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 56 per 100 and mobile-cellular 125 per 100 (2018)

international: country code – 886; landing points for the EAC-C2C, APCN-2, FASTER, SJC2, TSE-1, TPE, APG, SeaMeWe-3, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop, HKA, NCP, and PLCN submarine fiber cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the US; satellite earth stations – 2 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

5 nationwide television networks operating roughly 22 TV stations; more than 300 satellite TV channels are available; about 60% of households utilize multi-channel cable TV; 99.9% of households subscribe to digital cable TV; national and regional radio networks with about 171 radio stations (2019)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 21,845,944

percent of population: 92.78% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 5,725,022

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Taiwan

Military and security forces

Taiwan Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Military Police Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command; Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (a law enforcement organization with homeland security functions during peacetime and national defense missions during wartime) (2020)

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2019)
1.7% of GDP (2018)
1.8% of GDP (2017)
1.8% of GDP (2016)
1.9% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Taiwan military has approximately 170,000 active duty troops (90,000 Army; 40,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force)
(2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Taiwan military is armed mostly with second-hand weapons and equipment provided by the US; Taiwan also has a domestic defense industry capable of upgrading some weapons systems and building surface naval craft and submarines (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

starting with those born in 1994, males 18-36 years of age may volunteer for military service or must complete 4 months of compulsory military training (or substitute civil service in some cases); men born before December 1993 are required to complete compulsory service for 1 year (military or civil); men are subject to training recalls up to four times for periods not to exceed 20 days for 8 years after discharge; women may enlist, but are restricted to noncombat roles in most cases; as part of its transition to an all-volunteer military in December 2018, the last cohort of one-year military conscripts completed their service obligations (2019)

Transportation :: Taiwan

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 8 (2015)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 221 (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

B (2016)


37 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 35 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 8 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 2 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


31 (2013)


25 km condensate, 2,200 km gas, 13,500 km oil (2018)


total: 1,613 km (2018)

standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (345 km electrified) (2018)

narrow gauge: 1,118.1 km 1.067-m gauge (793.9 km electrified) (2018)

150 0.762-m gauge note: the 0.762-gauge track belongs to three entities: the Forestry Bureau, Taiwan Cement, and TaiPower


total: 43,206 km (2017)

paved: 42,793 km (includes 1,348 km of highways and 737 km of expressways) (2017)

unpaved: 413 km (2017)

Merchant marine

total: 389

by type: bulk carrier 30, container ship 47, general cargo 56, oil tanker 32, other 224 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Keelung (Chi-lung), Kaohsiung, Hualian, Taichung

container port(s) (TEUs): Kaohsiung (10,271,018), Taichung (1,660,663), Taipei (1,561,743) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Yung An (Kaohsiung), Taichung

Transnational Issues :: Taiwan

Disputes – international

involved in complex dispute with Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands, and with China and the Philippines over Scarborough Reef; the 2002 “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding “code of conduct” desired by several of the disputants; Paracel Islands are occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; in 2003, China and Taiwan became more vocal in rejecting both Japan’s claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan’s unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea where all parties engage in hydrocarbon prospecting

Illicit drugs

regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and precursor chemicals; transshipment point for drugs to Japan; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; rising problems with use of ketamine and club drugs

Source: https://www.cia.gov

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