How many countries have Diplomatic Ties with Taiwan?

The political landscape continues to evolve, and diplomatic relations between countries are constantly shifting. Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is a self-governing island in East Asia, International interest due to its complex relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Diplomatic relations with Taiwan,  How many countries still maintain formal ties with the island nation and the factors influencing their decisions?

The diplomatic status of Taiwan has been a contentious issue since the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949. The Kuomintang (KMT) forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, retreated to Taiwan after their defeat by the Communist Party of China (CPC). On the other hand, the CPC established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, claiming to be the sole legitimate government of all of China, including Taiwan. Since then, both the ROC and the PRC have maintained separate governments and territorial claims.

During the Cold War era, the ROC held the seat of China at the United Nations (UN) and enjoyed widespread international recognition. However, in 1971, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, which recognized the PRC as the legitimate representative of China and expelled the ROC from the organization. This marked a significant turning point in Taiwan’s diplomatic standing and limited its formal relations with other nations.

Diplomatic Ties with Taiwan

The Republic of China (Taiwan) maintains formal diplomatic relations with a diminishing number of countries worldwide. While the number has fluctuated over the years due to political pressures and strategic considerations, Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation has been a persistent challenge.

Taiwan had formal diplomatic relations with approximately 15 countries, most of which are smaller nations in Latin America, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. Some of these countries include Belize, Eswatini, Guatemala, Honduras, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, and Vatican City.

Influencing Diplomatic Ties

Several factors influence a country’s decision to establish or maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. These factors are often multifaceted and can differ significantly from one country to another.

  • One China Policy: The PRC insists on the “One China Policy,” which demands that any country wishing to establish relations with the PRC must sever ties with Taiwan. This policy is backed by the PRC’s economic and geopolitical influence, which acts as a deterrent for many countries considering ties with Taiwan.
  • Economic Ties: For some smaller countries, maintaining ties with Taiwan provides access to economic aid, investment, and development projects. These nations often rely on foreign aid to bolster their economies, and Taiwan has sought to build friendly relations by offering economic support.
  • Political Alignment: Political ideologies and regional alliances can also influence countries’ decisions to engage with Taiwan. Countries sharing similar democratic values may find common ground with Taiwan, while others may prioritize their relationships with larger powers, such as China or the United States.
  • Geopolitical Considerations: Countries in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, may face geopolitical challenges in balancing relations with Taiwan and the PRC. Some nations may seek to strike a delicate balance to avoid antagonizing either side.
  • International Pressure: The PRC often employs diplomatic pressure to discourage countries from recognizing Taiwan. This pressure can include economic sanctions, reduced trade, or political isolation.
  • Public Support: In some cases, public sentiment within a country can also play a role in shaping diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Public support or opposition to engaging with Taiwan can sway government decisions.

Taiwan’s diplomatic relations remain a complex and evolving issue in the international arena. Despite its limited recognition on the global stage, Taiwan has made significant strides in building economic and cultural ties with many nations through unofficial channels. Moreover, its vibrant democracy, technological advancements, and humanitarian efforts have garnered international support and admiration.