Taiwanese Embassy, Abuja
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Taiwan (/ˈtaɪˈwɑːn/ ty-wahn Chinese: 臺灣 or 台灣; pinyin: Táiwān; see below), officially the Republic of China (ROC; Chinese: 中華民國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó), is a state in East Asia. Originally based inmainland China, the Republic of China now governs the island of Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa), which makes up over 99% of its territory,[f] as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other minor islands. Neighboring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east and northeast, and the Philippinesto the south. Taipei is the political capital as well as economic and cultural centre in Taiwan. New Taipei is the most populous city.
The island of Taiwan was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines until the Dutch period in the 17th century when ethnic Chinese began immigrating to the island. The Qing Dynasty of China later conquered Taiwan in 1683. By the time Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, the majority of Taiwan's inhabitants were Han Chineseeither by ancestry or by assimilation. The Republic of China (ROC) was established in China in 1912. At the end of World War II in 1945, Japan surrendered Taiwan to ROC military forces on behalf of the Allies. Following the Chinese civil war, the Communist Party of China took full control of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. The ROC relocated its government to Taiwan, and its jurisdiction became limited to Taiwan and its surrounding islands. In 1971, the PRC assumed China's seat at the United Nations, which the ROC originally occupied. International recognition of the ROC has gradually eroded as most countries switched recognition to the PRC. Only 22 UN member states and the Holy See currently maintain formal diplomatic relations with the ROC, though it has informal ties with most other states via its representative offices.
Constitutionally, the ROC government has claimed sovereignty over all of "China", in a definition that includes mainland China and Outer Mongolia, as well as Taiwan, but has not made retaking mainland China a political goal since 1992. However, the government's stance on defining its political position largely depends on whichpolitical coalition is in charge (See Politics below). Meanwhile, the PRC also asserts itself to be the sole legal representation of China and claims Taiwan to be under its sovereignty, denying the status and existence of ROC as a sovereign state. The PRC has threatened the use of military force as a response to any formal declaration of Taiwanese independence, or if it deems peaceful reunification no longer possible. Relations between Taiwan and China as well as issues of national identity within the country are important factors in Taiwanese politics and a cause of social and political division among political parties and their respective supporters.
During the latter half of the 20th century, Taiwan has experienced rapid economic growth and industrializationand is now an advanced industrial economy. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Taiwan evolved into a multi-party democracy with universal suffrage. Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers and a member of the WTO andAPEC. The 19th-largest economy in the world, its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. Taiwan is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, economic freedom, and human development.
President of the Republic of China (Ma Ying-jeou)born 13 July 1950
Ma Ying-jeou (traditional Chinese: 馬英九; simplified Chinese: 马英九; pinyin: Mǎ Yīngjiǔ; born 13 July 1950) is a Taiwanese politician and the 12th and 13th term President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and the Chairman of the Kuomintang. Previous roles include Justice Minister (1993–96) and Mayor of Taipei (1998-06). He is also the current Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) having served in that role since 2005 stepping down for a period between 2007 and 2009. Ma first won the presidency by 58.45% of the popular vote in the presidential election of 2008, and was re-elected in 2012 with 51.6% of the vote. He was sworn into office as president on 20 May 2008, and sworn in as the Chairman of the Kuomintang on 17 October 2009.
Political and legal status
The political and legal statuses of Taiwan are contentious issues. The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that the Republic of China government is illegitimate, referring to it as the "Taiwan Authority". The ROC, however, with its own constitution, independently elected president and armed forces, continues to view itself as a sovereign state. The present territory of the state has never been controlled by the PRC. Internationally, there is controversy on whether the ROC still exists as a state or a defunct state per international law due to the loss of membership / recognition in the United Nations and lack of wide diplomatic recognition. In a poll of Taiwanese aged 20 and older taken by the TVBS in March 2009, a majority of 64% opted for the status quo, while 19% favored independence and 5% unification.