Flag of Taiwan

Taiwan (Republic of China)

The Republic of China (R.O.C.) is a nation in East Asia, which historically encompassed all of China before the Kuomintang lost control of the mainland to the Communist Party of China in 1950. Since then, its authority has been confined to the island groups of Taiwan, Kinmen, the Pescadores and the Matsu Islands. The Republic of China is now normally referred to simply as 'Taiwan', or in international organisations as 'Chinese Taipei'. Although mainland China insists on the truth of 'one China', Taiwan has managed the impossible tightrope act of agreeing, to one China but acting, in practice, like an independent republic.

The main island of Taiwan, sometimes also referred to as Formosa (from the Portuguese, meaning 'beautiful'), is located off the coast of mainland China, south of Japan and north of the Philippines. It is bounded to the north by the East China Sea, to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait and to the west by the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan is a modern industrialised megalopolis clinging to the fringes of an ancient culture. Its landscape consists of a string of beautiful cities at the feet of a glorious mountain range. If you venture outside bustling Taipei you'll discover why Taiwan is known as 'the beautiful island'. Heady mountain peaks puncture a landscape of clouds, and slick black volcanic glass engulfs the coastlines and waterfalls shroud themselves in mist.

Map of Taiwan