The World Factbook (1990)/Taiwan

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World Factbook (1990) Taiwan.jpg

See regional map VIII


Total area: 35,980 km²; land area: 32,260 km²; includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy

Comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims:

Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: involved in complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam; Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; Japanese-administered Senkaku-shotō (Senkaku Islands) claimed by China and Taiwan

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

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

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

Land use: 24% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 5% meadows and pastures; 55% forest and woodland; 15% other; 14% irrigated

Environment: subject to earthquakes and typhoons


Population: 20,546,664 (July 1990), growth rate 1.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 16 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 17 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 77 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Chinese (sing., pl.); adjective—Chinese

Ethnic divisions: 84% Taiwanese, 14% mainland Chinese, 2% aborigine

Religion: 93% mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist; 4.5% Christian; 2.5% other

Language: Mandarin Chinese (official); Taiwanese and Hakka dialects also used

Literacy: 94%

Labor force: 7,880,000; 41% industry and commerce, 32% services, 20% agriculture, 7% civil administration (1986)

Organized labor: 1,300,000 or about 18.4% (government controlled) (1983)


Long-form name: none

Type: one-party presidential regime; opposition political parties legalized in March, 1989

Capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions: 16 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities* (shih, singular and plural), 2 special municipalities** (chuan-shih, singular and plural); Chang-hua, Chia-i, Chia-i*, Chi-lung*, Hsin-chu, Hsin-chu*, Hua-lien, I-lan, Kao-hsiung, Kao-hsiung**, Miao-li, Nan-t'ou, P'eng-hu, P'ing-tung, T'ai-chung, T'ai-chung*, T'ai-nan, T'ai-nan*, T'ai-pei, T'ai-pei**, T'ai-tung, T'ao-yüan, Yün-lin; note—the Wade-Giles system is used for romanization

Constitution: 25 December 1947

Legal system: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: National Day (Anniversary of the Revolution), 10 October (1911)

Executive branch: president, vice president, premier of the Executive Yüan, vice premier of the Executive Yüan, Executive Yüan

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Yüan

Judicial branch: Judicial Yüan

Leaders: Chief of State—President LI Teng-hui (since 13 January 1988); Vice President LI Yuan-tzu (will take office 20 May 1990);

Head of Government—Premier (President of the Executive Yüan) HAO Po-ts'un (since May 2, 1990); Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yüan) SHIH Ch'i-yang (since NA July 1988)

Political parties and leaders: Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), LI Teng-hui, chairman; Democratic Socialist Party and Young China Party controlled by Kuomintang; Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); Labor Party; 27 other minor parties

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: President—last held 21 March 1990 (next to be held March 1996); results—President Li Teng-hui was elected by the National Assembly;

Vice President—last held 22 March 1990 (next to be held March 1996); results—Li Yuan-tzu was elected by the National Assembly;

Legislative Yüan—last held 2 December 1989 (next to be held December 1992); results—KMT 65%, DPP 33%, independents 2%; seats—(304 total, 102 elected) KMT 78, DPP 21, independents 3

Member of: expelled from UN General Assembly and Security Council on 25 October 1971 and withdrew on same date from other charter-designated subsidiary organs; expelled from IMF/World Bank group April/May 1980; member of ADB and PECC, seeking to join GATT and/or MFA; attempting to retain membership in ICAC, ISO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IWC—International Wheat Council; suspended from IAEA in 1972, but still allows IAEA controls over extensive atomic development

Diplomatic representation: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through a private instrumentality, the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA) with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 10 other US cities with all addresses and telephone numbers NA; US—unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of Taiwan are maintained through a private institution, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has offices in Taipei at 7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3 with telephone 002 [886](2) 709-2000 and in Kao-hsiung at 88 Wu Fu 3rd Road with telephone NA

Flag: red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays


Overview: Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with considerable government guidance of investment and foreign trade and partial government ownership of some large banks and industrial firms. Real growth in GNP has averaged about 9% a year during the past three decades. Export growth has been even faster and has provided the impetus for industrialization. Agriculture contributes about 6% to GNP, down from 35% in 1952. Taiwan currently ranks as number 13 among major trading countries. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries.

GNP: $121.4 billion, per capita $6,000; real growth rate 7.2% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.0% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 1.7% (1989)

Budget: revenues $25.9 billion; expenditures $33.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY89)

Exports: $66.2 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—textiles 9.7%, electrical machinery 19.0%, general machinery and equipment 14%, telecommunications equipment 9%, basic metals and metal products 7.4%, foodstuffs 0.9%, plywood and wood products 1.3%; partners—US 36.2%, Japan 13.7%

Imports: $52.2 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—machinery and equipment 15.9%, crude oil 5%, chemical and chemical products 11.1%, basic metals 7.4%, foodstuffs 2.0%; partners—Japan 31%, US 23%, Saudi Arabia 8.6%

External debt: $1.0 billion (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 4.1% (1988)

Electricity: 17,000,000 kW capacity; 68,000 million kWh produced, 3,360 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: textiles, clothing, chemicals, electronics, food processing, plywood, sugar milling, cement, shipbuilding, petroleum

Agriculture: accounts for 6% of GNP and 20% of labor force (includes part-time farmers); heavily subsidized sector; major crops—rice, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables; livestock—hogs, poultry, beef, milk, cattle; not self-sufficient in wheat, soybeans, corn; fish catch expanding, 1.1 million metric tons in (1987)

Aid: US, including Ex-Im (FY46-82), $4.6 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $439 million

Currency: new Taiwan dollar (plural—dollars); 1 new Taiwan dollar (NT$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: new Taiwan dollars per US$1—26.3 (March 1990), 26.156 (December 1989), 28.589 (1988), 31.845 (1987), 37.838 (1986), 39.849 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: about 1,075 km common carrier lines and over 3,800 km industrial lines; common carrier lines consist of the 1.067-meter gauge 708 km West Line and the 367 km East Line; a 98.25 km South Link Line connection is under construction; common carrier lines owned by the government and operated by the Railway Administration under Ministry of Communications; industrial lines owned and operated by government enterprises

Highways: 18,800 km total; 15,800 km bituminous or concrete, 2,500 km crushed stone or gravel, 500 km graded earth

Pipelines: 615 km refined products, 97 km natural gas

Ports: Kao-hsiung, Chi-lung, Hua-lien, Su-ao, T'ai-tung

Merchant marine: 218 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,061,960 GRT/7,634,074 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 61 cargo, 13 refrigerated cargo, 71 container, 14 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 3 combination ore/oil, 1 specialized tanker, 54 bulk

Airports: 38 total, 37 usable; 32 with permanent-surface runways; 3 with runways over 3,659 m; 16 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 8 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: best developed system in Asia outside of Japan; 6,000,000 telephones; extensive microwave transmission links on east and west coasts; stations—91 AM, 23 FM, 15 TV (13 relays); 8,000,000 radio receivers; 6,000,000 TV sets (5,300,000 color, 700,000 monochrome); satellite earth stations—1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT and 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT; submarine cable links to Japan (Okinawa), the Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, Garrison Command

Military manpower: males 15-49, 5,809,354; 4,534,950 fit for military service; about 185,235 currently reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 6.8% of GNP, or $8.2 billion (FY90 est.)