Council on Foreign Relations
7 December 2016
Taiwan, home to twentythree million people, is an island off the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) views the island as a province, while in Taiwan—a territory with its own democratically elected government—leading political voices have differing views on the island’s status and relations with the mainland. Some observe the principle that there is “One China” comprising the island and the mainland, but in their eyes this is the Republic of China (ROC) based in Taipei; others advocate for a de jure independent Taiwan. China and Taiwan maintain a fragile relationship, which has improved during the past seven years but is periodically tested.