The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer (110 mi)-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan from mainland China. The strait is currently classified as part of the South China Sea and borders the East China Sea to the north. It is 130 km (81 mi) wide at its narrowest.
A map showing the Taiwan Strait Area
|Basin countries||China, Taiwan|
|Max. width||130 km (81 mi)|
|Hokkien POJ||Tâi-ôan Hái-kiap|
|Literal meaning||Taiwan Strait|
|Literal meaning||Taiwan Sea|
|Hokkien POJ||O͘ Chúi-kau|
|Literal meaning||Black Ditch|
Former names of the Taiwan Strait include the Formosa Strait or Strait of Formosa, from an older name for Taiwan Island; the Strait of Fokien or Fujian, from the Chinese province forming the strait's western shore; and the Black Ditch, a calque of the strait's name in Hokkien and Hakka.
The entire strait is on Asia's continental shelf. It is almost entirely less than 150 m (490 ft) deep, with a short ravine of that depth off the south-west coast of Taiwan. As such, there are many islands in the strait. The largest and most important islands off the Fujianese coast are Xiamen & Gulangyu, Pingtan (the "Haitan" of the IHO delineation), Kinmen, and Matsu. The first three are controlled by the PRC; the last two by the ROC. Within the strait lie the Penghu or Pescadores, also controlled by the ROC. There is a major underwater bank 40–60 km (25–37 mi) north of the Penghu Islands.
The third and current edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas by the International Hydrographic Organization does not define the boundaries of the Taiwan Strait, rather placing it within the South China Sea.  A draft for a new edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas precisely defines the Taiwan Strait, classifying it as part of the North Pacific Ocean and defining it as a body of water between the East China Sea and South China Sea as follows:  
On the North:
A line joining the coast of China (25° 42′ N - 119° 36′ E) eastward to Xiang Cape (25° 40′ N - 119° 47′ 10″ E), the northern extremity of Haitan Island, and thence to Fugui Cape (25° 17′ 45″ N - 121° 32′ 30″ E), the northern extremity of Taiwan Island (the common limit with the East China Sea, see 7.3).
On the East:
On the South:
A line joining Eluan Cape northwestward, along the southern banks of Nanao Island, to the southeastern extremity of this island (23° 23′ 35″ N - 117° 07′ 15″ E); thence westward, along the southern coast of Nanao Island, to Changshan Head (23° 25′ 50″ N - 116° 56′ 25″ E), the western extremity of this island; and thence a line joining Changshan Head westward to the mouth of the Hanjiang River (23° 27′ 30″ N - 116° 52′ E), on the coast of China.
On the West:
From the mouth of Hanjiang River northeastward, along the coast of China, to position 25° 42′ N - 119° 36′ E.
The Strait mostly separated the Han culture of the Chinese mainland from Taiwan Island's aborigines for millennia, although the Hakka and Hoklo traded and migrated across it. A Fujianese shamaness named Lin Mo is said to have drowned in the strait while rescuing members of her family in the 10th century; by the 12th century, her story had given rise to the cult of "Mazu" still celebrated on both sides of the strait.
Early modern Taiwan was a haven by Chinese pirates. European explorers, principally the Spanish and Dutch, also took advantage of the strait to establish forward bases for trade with the mainland during the Ming; the bases were also used for raiding both the Chinese coast and the trading ships of rival countries.
Widespread Chinese migration across the strait began in the late Ming. During the Qing conquest, Ming refugees fled to Taiwan. Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) expelled the Dutch and established the Kingdom of Tungning in 1661, planning to launch a reconquest of the mainland in the name of the Southern Ming branches of the old imperial dynasty. Dorgon and the Kangxi Emperor were able to consolidate their control over southern mainland China; Koxinga found himself limited to raiding across the strait. His grandson Zheng Keshuang surrendered to the Qing after his admiral lost the 1683 Battle of the Penghu Islands in the middle of the strait.
The Manchu-led Qing Empire faced constant revolts among the Han, Hoklo, and Hakka on Taiwan over the next 200 years. They never exerted much control over the aboriginal tribes on the eastern half of the island, prompting international incidents and American and Japanese invasions when the natives massacred the survivors of shipwrecks.
Japan seized the Penghu Islands during the First Sino-Japanese War and gained control of Taiwan at its conclusion in 1895. Control of the eastern half of the strait was used to establish control of the southern Chinese coast during the Second World War. The strait protected Japanese bases and industry on Taiwan from Chinese attack and sabotage, but aerial warfare reached the island by 1943. The 1944 Taiwan Air Battle gave the United States Pacific Fleet air supremacy from its carrier groups and Philippine bases; subsequently, bombing was continuous until Japan's surrender in 1945.
The Republic of China government retreated across the Taiwan Strait in 1949. In 1950, United States President Harry S. Truman moved the Seventh Fleet into the strait to prevent conflict between the Communists and Nationalists. The Communists launched offensives during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1954–1955 and the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1958; meanwhile, the Nationalists' Project National Glory was abandoned after a naval defeat in 1965. A Third Taiwan Strait Crisis occurred in 1995–1996.
The 1994 Taiwan Strait earthquake occurred on 16 September 1994, at 14:20 local time (06:20 UTC) in the southern Taiwan Strait. The magnitude of this earthquake was given as Mw 6.8 by USGS and Ms 7.3 by Fujian Seismological Bureau. The epicenter was located about 150 to 180 km from the coast of the border of Guangdong and Fujian, and about 150 km southwest of Taiwan.2005 Pan–Blue visits to mainland China
The 2005 Pan–Blue visits to mainland China were a series of groundbreaking visits by delegations of the Kuomintang (KMT) and their allied Pan-Blue Coalition to mainland China. They were hailed as the highest level of exchange between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang since Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong met in Chongqing, China on August 28, 1945.
On March 28, 2005, the Kuomintang's vice chairman Chiang Pin-kung led a delegation in the first official visit to mainland China by a senior leader of the Kuomintang in 60 years. Later, on April 26, 2005, a 70-member delegation led by the Kuomintang's chairman Lien Chan left Taipei for the ROC's de jure capital of Nanjing via Hong Kong, launching Lien's 8-day Taiwan Strait peace tour; also the first such visit to mainland China in 60 years.
While in mainland China, Lien met with General Secretary Hu Jintao and expressed interest in improving cross-strait dialogues. Both also re-affirmed a belief in the "One China principle", which was not acknowledged by Taiwan's then-ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); a part of Taiwan's Pan-Green Coalition.
Lien's itinerary also included visits to Xi'an, where he had lived as a child during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II; Nanjing, the official capital of the Republic of China and the site of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum; and Shanghai, China's largest city and site of extensive Taiwanese financial and economic investment in recent years.Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits
The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS; Chinese: 海峡两岸关系协会; pinyin: Hǎixiá Liǎng'àn Guānxì Xiéhuì; often abbreviated as 海协会 / 海協會) is an organization set up by the People's Republic of China for handling technical or business matters with the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The ROC counterpart to ARATS is the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).
The foundation's founding chairman was former Shanghai mayor Wang Daohan, honorary chairman Rong Yiren. Negotiations with SEF stopped in 1999, and after Wang's death in 2005, no new chair was appointed until 2008. Following the election of Ma Ying-jeou to the presidency of the Republic of China on Taiwan, talks between ARATS and SEF have restarted and progress was made in the areas of transport and economy such as the Three links in 2008 and Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in 2010. Chen Yunlin, who was formerly head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, was the head of ARATS from 2008 to 2013. He has met his counterpart Chiang Pin-kung in 2008.Beijing–Hong Kong (Taipei) passageway
The Beijing–Hong Kong (Taipei) passageway is a proposed high-speed railway passage in Greater China. It will run in a north–south direction from Beijing to Hong Kong, with a branch leading from Hefei to end at Taipei across the Taiwan Strait. It will connect the cities of Beijing, Xiong'an, Fuyang, Hefei, Jiujiang, Nanchang, Ganzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong on the main line, as well as Fuzhou and Taipei on the branch line.
The line was announced by the Chinese government in 2016 as part of the national "eight vertical and eight horizontal" high-speed railway network.Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association
The Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association (CSTEA; simplified Chinese: 海峡两岸旅游交流协会; traditional Chinese: 海峽兩岸旅遊交流協會; pinyin: Hǎixiá Liǎng'àn Lǚyóu Jiāoliú Xiéhuì) or Association for Tourism Exchange across the Taiwan Straits (ATETS) is a semi-official representative office of the People's Republic of China in Taiwan handling tourism-related affairs. Its counterpart body in Mainland China by the Republic of China is the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association.
The CSTEA office is located in Ruentex Tower at Daan District, Taipei.Cross-Strait relations
Cross-Strait relations, Mainland–Taiwan relations, or Taiwan–China relations refer to the relationship between the following two political entities, which are separated by the Taiwan Strait in the west Pacific Ocean:
the People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as "China"
the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as "Taiwan"Their relationship is complex and controversial due to the dispute on the political status of Taiwan after the administration of Taiwan was transferred from Japan at the end of World War II in 1945 and the subsequent split of China into the above two in 1949 as a result of civil war, and hinges on the key questions of 1)whether the two entities are two separate countries (either as "Taiwan" and "China" or Two Chinas: "Republic of China" and "People's Republic of China"), or two "regions" or parts of the same country (i.e. "One China") that were split by civil war with rivaling governments, and 2)whether the transfer of Taiwan to Republic of China was legal in the first place when Japan was forced to give up Taiwan in the aftermath of losing World War II.
In 1949, with the Chinese Civil War turning decisively in favour of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Republic of China (ROC) government led by the Kuomintang (KMT) retreated to Taiwan and established the provisional capital in Taipei, while the CPC proclaimed the People's Republic of China (PRC) government in Beijing.
Since then, the relations between the governments in Beijing and Taipei have been characterized by limited contact, tensions, and instability, due to the fact that the Civil War merely stopped without formal signing of any peace treaty and the two sides are technically still in a state of war. In the early years, military conflicts continued, while diplomatically both governments competed to be the "legitimate government of China". More recently, questions around the political and legal status of Taiwan have focused on the alternative prospects of political unification with mainland China or full Taiwanese independence. The People's Republic remains hostile to any formal declaration of independence and maintains its claim over Taiwan. At the same time, non-governmental and semi-governmental exchanges between the two sides have been increasing. From 2008, negotiations began to restore the "Three Links" (transportation, commerce, and communications) between the two sides, cut off since 1949. Party-to-party talks between the CPC and the KMT have resumed and semi-official negotiations through organizations representing the interests of their respective governments are being scheduled.
The English expression "cross-Strait relations" has been used by the two sides concerned and by many observers so that the relationship would not be referred to as "(Mainland) China–Taiwan relations" or "PRC–ROC relations", due to the dispute on the nature of their relationship and each party's "correct" names. There is also no commonly used Chinese language phrase equivalent to the latter two phrases, although Mainland–Taiwan relations and China–Taiwan relations are occasionally used.First Taiwan Strait Crisis
The First Taiwan Strait Crisis (also the Formosa Crisis, the 1954–1955 Taiwan Strait Crisis, the Offshore Islands Crisis, and the 1955 Taiwan Strait Crisis) was a brief armed conflict between the Communist People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Nationalist Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan. The Taiwan strait crisis began when the PRC seized the Yijiangshan Islands and expelled the ROC to abandon the Tachen Islands, which were evacuated by the navies of the ROC and the US. Although physical control of the Tachen Islands changed hands during the crisis, American reportage focused exclusively on the Kinmen (Quemoy) and Matsu islands, sites of artillery duels between the Communists and the KMT Nationalists.
In 1949, after military defeat in the Chinese Civil War (1927–49), Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (KMT) government and 1.3 million anti-communist Chinese supporters fled China, and relocated the nationalist KMT government to the island of Taiwan. While Kuomintang Islamic insurgency in western and south-western China continued, the territory under jurisdiction of the KMT's Republic of China was reduced to Taiwan, Hainan the Pescadores Islands (Penghu), and several island groups along the south-east coast of China. In April 1950, the PRC captured Hainan, and the Nationalists then evacuated to Taiwan in May 1950, before the occurrence of the First Taiwan Strait Crisis.Free area of the Republic of China
The Free area of the Republic of China is a term used by the government of the Republic of China (ROC) to refer to the territories under its actual control. The area under the definition consists of the island groups of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands. This term is used in the "Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China". As the island of Taiwan is the main component of the whole area, it is therefore also referred to as the "Taiwan Area of the Republic of China" or simply the "Taiwan Area" (Chinese: 臺灣地區). The term "Tai-Peng-Kin-Ma" is also essentially equivalent except that it only refers to the four main islands of the region - Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, to the exclusion of the South China Sea area possessions.The term is opposed to "Mainland Area", which is practically viewed as being synonymous to mainland China.G3 Beijing–Taipei Expressway
The Beijing–Taipei Expressway (Chinese: 北京–台北高速公路; pinyin: Běijīng–Táiběi Gāosù Gōnglù), commonly known as the Jingtai Expressway (Chinese: 京台高速公路; pinyin: Jīngtái Gāosù Gōnglù), is a partially completed Chinese expressway that, if fully constructed, would connect the Mainland China with Taiwan. Currently, the expressway is complete from Beijing to Fuzhou, Fujian, and is fully complete in Mainland China except for a small section in Fujian which is under construction.
In Taiwan, the expressway is proposed to connect with a hypothetical G99 Taiwan Ring Expressway in New Taipei City, which would supposedly encircle the island of Taiwan, as proposed by the People's Republic of China.
The project has been the source of some controversy because of Taiwan's political status. The People's Republic of China claims Taiwan, but does not currently administer it, so therefore does not have any control of its highways. As Taiwan does not recognize the highway designation by the People's Republic of China and has its own highway system, the Taiwan portion of the expressway has not been constructed. Aside from politics, the other challenge is the engineering difficulties in constructing the link through the Taiwan Strait. A bridge seems less likely than an undersea tunnel, which would have to exceed 100 kilometres in length. This is further complicated given the climatic and weather conditions across the straits.
In Mainland China, it connects the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Jinan, Tai'an, Hefei, and Fuzhou.Hefei–Fuzhou high-speed railway
Hefei–Fuzhou high-speed railway (simplified Chinese: 合福高速铁路; traditional Chinese: 合福高速鐵路; pinyin: Héfú Gāosù Tiělù), is a dual-track, electrified, passenger-dedicated, high-speed rail line between Hefei and Fuzhou, the provincial capitals of Anhui and Fujian, respectively. It has a total length of 813 km (505 mi) and runs through Anhui, Jiangxi and Fujian province. Construction began on April 27, 2010 and the line was opened on 28 June 2015. The total cost of the line was about ¥109.8 billion. On this line, trains can reach top speeds of 300 kilometres per hour, reducing the travel time by rail from Hefei to Fuzhou from fourteen to four hours. The railway is part of the future Beijing–Taipei high-speed rail corridor.
Cities and towns along the route include Changlinhe, Chaohu, Wuwei, Tongling, Nanling, Jingxian, Jingde, Jixi and Huangshan in Anhui, Wuyuan and Shangrao in Jiangxi, and Wuyishan, Jianou, Gutian, Nanping and Minqing in Fujian.
The Hefu passenger-dedicated line (PDL) constitutes a portion of the proposed Beijing–Taipei high-speed rail corridor, which would tunnel under the Taiwan Strait from Fuzhou to the island of Taiwan. The northern section of this project is being built as the section of the Beijing-Shanghai HSR from Beijing to Bengbu. From Bengbu, a high-speed rail spur (opened on 2012-10-16), extends to Hefei, supporting 4 hour travel time from Beijing South railway station to Hefei. The Hefu PDL would then extend the line from Hefei to Fuzhou on the western shores of the Taiwan Strait. Political differences between mainland China and Taiwan complicate plans to extend the line by tunnel to Taipei.Jin River (Fujian)
The Jin River, also known by its Chinese name Jin Jiang, is located in southern Fujian. Its basin includes most of Quanzhou prefecture-level city, whose Jinjiang County is named after it.Mulan River
The Mulan River or Creek is a river in Fujian, China, which drains into Xinghua Bay on the Taiwan Strait between the East and South China Seas. It is the largest river in Central Fujian.One Country on Each Side
One Country on Each Side (simplified Chinese: 一边一国; traditional Chinese: 一邊一國; pinyin: yī biān yī guó; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chi̍t Pêng Chi̍t Kok) is a concept originating in the Democratic Progressive Party government led by Chen Shui-bian, the former President of the Republic of China (2000–2008), regarding the political status of Taiwan. It emphasised that the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan") are two different countries, (namely "One China, one Taiwan"), as opposed to two separate political entities within the same country of "China". This is the position of the supporters of the Pan-Green coalition.Pingtan Island
Pingtan or Haitan Island is an island off the east coast of Fujian Province, China, south of the complex estuary of the Min River. It is the largest island in Fujian and the fifth-largest island in China.Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan, sometimes referred to as the Taiwan Issue or Taiwan Strait Issue, or from a Taiwanese perspective as the Mainland Issue, is a result of the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent split of China into the two present-day self-governing entities of the People's Republic of China (PRC; commonly known as "China") and the Republic of China (ROC; commonly known as "Taiwan").
The issue hinges on whether the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain the territory of the ROC as an effectively separate self-governing entity; become unified with the PRC under the existing communist government; convert the ROC to a new "Republic of Taiwan"; or unite with the mainland under the ROC government (after the dissolution of the PRC government).
This controversy also concerns whether the existence and legal status as a sovereign state (country) of both the ROC and the PRC is legitimate as a matter of international law.
Currently, Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and some other minor islands effectively make up the jurisdiction of the state with the official name of the Republic of China (ROC) but commonly known as "Taiwan". The ROC, which took control of Taiwan (including Penghu and other nearby islands) in 1945, ruled mainland China and claimed sovereignty over Outer Mongolia (now Mongolia) and Tannu Uriankhai (part of which is present day Tuva, Russia) before losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and relocating its government and capital city from Nanjing (formerly spelled as "Nanking") to Taipei as temporary capital in December 1949. The CPC established new government on the mainland as People's Republic of China (PRC) in October 1949.
Since the ROC lost its United Nations seat as "China" in 1971 (replaced by the PRC), most sovereign states have switched their diplomatic recognition to the PRC, recognizing the PRC as the representative of all China, though the majority of countries avoid clarifying what territories are meant by "China" in order to associate with both the PRC and ROC. As of 21 August 2018, the ROC maintains official diplomatic relations with 16 UN member states and the Holy See, although informal relations are maintained with nearly all others. Agencies of foreign governments such as the American Institute in Taiwan operate as de facto embassies of their home countries in Taiwan, and Taiwan operates similar de facto embassies and consulates in most countries under such names as "Taipei Representative Office" (TRO) or "Taipei Economic and Cultural (Representative) Office" (TECO). In certain contexts, Taiwan is also referred to as Chinese Taipei.
The ROC government has in the past actively pursued the claim as the sole legitimate government over mainland China and Taiwan. This position began to change in the early 1990s as democracy was introduced and new Taiwanese leaders were elected, changing to one that does not actively challenge the legitimacy of PRC rule over mainland China. However, with the election of the Kuomintang (KMT, "Chinese Nationalist Party") back into executive power in 2008, the ROC government has reverted to the position that "mainland China is also part of the territory of the ROC." Both the PRC and the ROC carry out Cross-Strait relations through specialized agencies (such as the Mainland Affairs Council of the ROC), rather than through foreign ministries. Different groups have different concepts of what the current formal political situation of Taiwan is. (See also: Chinese reunification, Taiwan independence, and Cross-Strait relations)
In addition, the situation can be confusing because of the different parties and the effort by many groups to deal with the controversy through a policy of deliberate ambiguity. The political solution that is accepted by many of the current groups is the perspective of the status quo: to unofficially treat Taiwan as a state and at a minimum, to officially declare no support for the government of this state making a formal declaration of independence. What a formal declaration of independence would consist of is not clear and can be confusing given the fact that the People's Republic of China has never controlled Taiwan and the Republic of China still exists, albeit on a decreased scale.
The status quo is accepted in large part because it does not define the legal or future status of Taiwan, leaving each group to interpret the situation in a way that is politically acceptable to its members. At the same time, a policy of status quo has been criticized as being dangerous precisely because different sides have different interpretations of what the status quo is, leading to the possibility of war through brinkmanship or miscalculation.Second Taiwan Strait Crisis
The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict that took place between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). In this conflict, the PRC shelled the islands of Kinmen and the Matsu Islands along the east coast of mainland China (in the Taiwan Strait) to "liberate" Taiwan from the Chinese Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT); and to probe the extent of the United States defense of Taiwan's territory.Taiwan Strait Tourism Association
The Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA; Chinese: 台灣海峽兩岸觀光旅遊協會; pinyin: Táiwān Hǎixiá Liǎng'àn Guānguāng Lǚyóu Xiéhuì) is a semi-official representative office of the Republic of China in Mainland China handling tourism-related affairs. Its counterpart body in Taiwan by the People's Republic of China is the Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association.Third Taiwan Strait Crisis
The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, also called the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis or the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was the effect of a series of missile tests conducted by China in the waters surrounding Taiwan including the Taiwan Strait from 21 July 1995 to 23 March 1996. The first set of missiles fired in mid-to-late 1995 were allegedly intended to send a strong signal to the Taiwanese government under Lee Teng-hui, who had been seen as moving its foreign policy away from the One-China policy. The second set of missiles were fired in early 1996, allegedly intending to intimidate the Taiwanese electorate in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election.Tongxiao
Tongxiao Township is an urban township in southern Miaoli County, Taiwan. It lies between the Taiwan Strait on the west and mountains on the east.
|Hanyu Pinyin||Táiwān Hǎixiá|
|Hokkien POJ||Tâi-ôan Hái-kiap|
|Fuzhou BUC||Dài-uăng Hāi-hàp|
|Hokkien POJ||O͘ Chúi-kau|
Straits of China